We join the resonant clamor of our patriotic people and all progressive sectors of Philippine society in demanding for the immediate release ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro, former Bayan Muna Partylist Congressman Satur Ocampo and companions. They were illegally arrested on November 28, 2018 and are now detained in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. They are facing trumped-up charges of child trafficking and kidnapping in relation to Republic Act 7610 or the anti-child abuse law.
We are enraged by this act of barbarism perpetrated by the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, the Philippine National Police, and their paramilitary groups operating in the area. The preposterous lies and false charges concocted by these fascist forces against the members of the humanitarian mission to help Lumad schools are brazen acts enacted with no other goal but to suppress and terrorize concerned groups and individuals who desire to protect the welfare of the students and teachers in Lumad schools.
The arrest of the members of the humanitarian mission is a tactic of the military to isolate the Lumad schools and forcibly close them down. The military terrorizes Lumad communities in the name of flushing out alleged communists. Condoned and encouraged by the thoughtless pronouncements of President Duterte from bombing Lumad schools to hunting down and killing all communists and their supporters, military atrocities in Martial Law-stricken Mindanao are committed every day, with no end in view.
We urge all our fellow educators and workers in the educational sector to mobilize and organize to support the immediate release of Rep. France Castro and Satur Ocampo. Both have worked tirelessly for the welfare of public and private school teachers, lobbied for the advancement of the well-being of teachers and students, and have consistently supported the struggle of the Lumad for the right to self-determination.
We likewise ask of our fellow teachers and our students to dispel lies and disinformation disseminated by the military about Lumad communities. We need to maximize the use of our classes, lectures, and social media accounts to expose the intensifying attacks and harassment of the military establishment against progressive educators and schools supportive of the national minority’s struggle for self-determination.
The puppet Philippine State has historically been indifferent to the educational welfare of the Lumad in Mindanao. And now that Lumad communities have collectively constructed and been running their own schools with assistance from people’s organizations, NGOs and religious institutions, the same entity that treated the Lumad with criminal neglect aims to close than their schools? The Duterte government should not expect any of us to accommodate even an iota its contemptible and morally reprehensible actions toward the Lumad in Mindanao. As members of the education sector, let us stand with the Lumad and defend them from the fascist attacks of the military and paramilitary groups.
Free Talaingod 17 now!
Free Rep. France Castro of ACT Partylist now!
Save our Schools! Stop Lumad killings!
Defend the right to self-determination of the Lumad and other national minorities!
Down with state fascism!
Stop the militarization of Lumad communities!