By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
September 12, 2015
Fellow teachers and Friends! As Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), I wish to convey the warmest greetings of solidarity of the International Coordinating Committee and entirety of the ILPS to the national officers and general membership of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on the occasion of its 14th National Congress.
We are proud of having the ACT as an ILPS member-organization. You have brilliantly and successfully upheld, defended and advanced the rights and interests of educators and education workers in the Philippines. You have served well your constituency and the entire Filipino people.
We congratulate you for all your achievements in being at the forefront of the Filipino people’s struggle for a genuine education that is patriotic and progressive and in advocating and campaigning for the fulfilment of the economic and political rights of the educators and education workers. We are deeply pleased with your outstanding participation in the protest action against the lies of the US-Aquino regime in SONA 2015.
With your resolute struggle, you have gained the trust and confidence of the public school teachers and succeeded in organizing them as public sector unions. We applaud the nationwide membership of the ACT for launching different forms of mass actions to demand the immediate increase in the entry pay and monthly salaries of teaching and nonteaching personnel in the Department of Education.
We fully support the thematic call of your Congress: Ibayong palawakin at palakasin ang ating hanay! Ipagtanggol at ipaglaban ang ating kabuhayan, karapatan at kalayaan! (Expand further and strengthen our ranks! Defend and fight for our livelihood, rights and freedom.!)
You must be steadfast and militant in the face of the ever worsening crisis of global capitalism and the local ruling system of big compradors and landlords. These malignant forces keep on escalating the exploitation and oppression of the people. You must and you can muster the unity and strength to pursue your noble mission of teaching the children and youth and preparing them for the challenges in a semicolonial and semifeudal society.
You have a lot of hard work and struggle ahead of you in order to raise the salaries and living conditions of teachers and nonteaching personnel in schools. The salaries and social benefits are still inadequate for families, thus compelling quite a number of teachers and education workers to engage in sideline way s of augmenting their income.
The K-12 program is being imposed at great cost without the solution of the accumulated problems of inadequate personnel and low salaries and the lack of classrooms and study materials. It is disrupting the school system and is promoting a kind of educational content that does away with Philippine history, national language and culture and that favors subservience to the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization and disdains patriotism and economic development through national industrialization and land reform.
Under the auspices of the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, military forces are occupying schools, converting them into barracks, terrorizing the children and depriving them of education. In the hinterlands where the indigenous people live and where the reactionary government has not built the schools, the military forces are killing and terrorizing the teachers and the communities and destroying the schools built by religious organizations and philanthrophic foundations.
We must condemn the most recent acts of barbarism of the Aquino regime and its military and paramilitary minions who murdered Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development, Inc. (ALCADEV), Dionel Campos, chairperson of MAPASU (Persevering Struggle for Future Manobo Generations), and his cousin Aurelio Bello Sinzo in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
Benigno Aquino III takes after his mother in puppetry to the US, in unleashing US-designed military campaign plans like Lambat Bitag and Bayanihan, in using paramilitary groups like Alsa Masa and Magahat Bagani, and in carrying out the US-dictated neoliberal economic policy. The dictator Marcos and the pseudo-democrat Aquinos are no different from each other as corrupt high bureaucrats and as big comprador-landlord exploiters and oppressors of the people.
They only differ in self-presentation and style. Marcos engaged in corruption and atrocities in a blatantly fascist regime. The Aquinos have done so by masquerading as clean, honest and kind democrats even while they are scandalously surrounded by the most corrupt and brutal assistants. The Filipino people must do everything possible and necessary to end the ruling system of big compradors and landlords, no matter how long it takes.
We are confident that your Congress will consolidate your ranks, draw lessons from your experience and set forth the tasks to make ACT stronger and more effective in fighting for the rights and welfare of educators and education personnel and in promoting the patriotic, scientific, progressive and pro-people type of education that can guide the children and youth in the making of a new Philippines, that is truly independent, democratic, socially just, developed, prosperous and peaceful.
Mabuhay ang Alliance of Concerned Teachers!
Mabuhay ang mga guro at iba pang empleyado sa mga paaralan!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!