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Philippines: Teacher unionists threatened

Education International has launched an urgent action appeal encouraging the global community of educators and activists to express outrage at the death threats received by the General Secretary of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Raymond Basilio, and at the unlawful profiling of ACT members by the authorities.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has reported that its General Secretary Raymond Basilio received death threats on his personal mobile phone. One call came during an ACT press conference on 11 January 2019, at which the education union denounced the constant harassment and threats faced by its members and leaders. The caller, who appeared to know about Basilio’s personal details and about his family, claimed an order had been issued for Basilio’s killing unless he agreed to cooperate with the caller’s demands.  

Despite the denial of the Philippine National Police and the authorities, ACT has also learned of continuing unlawful profiling of its members carried out by the police in different regions of the nation, in a serious breach of both national and international law. In a letter to President Duterte dated 22 January, Education International (EI) denounced such practices violating the principles of freedom of association, equality and non-discrimination, as well as the rights to respect for private life and data protection. 

In this letter, EI urges the Government of the Philippines to ensure the security of Basilio, to ensure that the privacy of ACT members is respected, and to carry out independent investigations on the above-mentioned facts.

EI therefore invites member organisations and their members to:

  • Send a letter of protest to President Rodrigo Duterte (copying EI); 
  • Petition the authorities through the LabourStart campaign
  • Givevisibility to the LabourStart petition by recommending it to colleagues, union members and networks; post it on the trade union website, on Facebook and on Twitter. 
  • Contact their Government and the diplomatic representation of their country in the Philippines, requesting that they initiate a dialogue on these issues with the Filipino authorities. 

The deteriorating human rights situation for the indigenous communities in Mindanao – one of the main islands of the country – and its impact on teachers, students and their right to education, continues to be a major concern. EI has repeatedly called on the Filipino government to endorse the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict

EI stands in solidarity with its affiliates in the Philippines and will continue to closely monitor the human and trade union rights situation in the country.