The members of CONTEND UP DILIMAN express our strongest condemnation of the recent propagandistic allegations of the Philippine National Police that some state colleges and universities, notably the University of the Philippines and Polytechnic University of the Philippines, are hubs for recruitment of students to the New People’s Army (NPA). Such unsubstantiated claim, supposed to come from former rebels, put in peril students and their teachers, and progressive students’ organizations in these campuses. Because of this pronouncement of the Philippine National Police (PNP), their covert and overt agents and assets are now mobilized to monitor, surveille, and observe the movements and whereabouts of these suspected students, teachers and their respective organizations beyond the gates of schools.
This policing of state colleges and universities will surely fail as the PNP failed to confirm the earlier allegation of “red October plot” to oust President Duterte (uncovered September 2018). Undeterred by this fiasco, linking several schools to the plot, the PNP has concocted another hoax to justify its clampdown on the growing number of discounted students, educational workers and teachers against the US-Duterte administration.
We are also disgusted by the recent foiled attempt of the PNP to profile and monitor members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist. These failed attempts of the PNP to harass, contain, and terrorize educational workers and their organizations are part of the bigger counter-insurgency plan embodied in Executive Order No. 70, using the “whole-of-nation” approach, to weaponize all state resources, agencies, and bureaucracies to combat and wipe out all progressive critics of the government, not sparing the legal and legitimate people’s organizations.
As educators we express our shock against the claim that state colleges and universities are hubs for recruiting students to join the NPAs. Such outrageous allegation of the PNP simply provides the state armed agents the pretext to terrorize and harass our teachers and students and their organizations. This pronouncement of the PNP threatens to put legitimate field works, out-of-school research, basic mass integration, even outreach/relief programs under the snooping eyes of state armed agents for intelligence gathering.
We therefore exhort our fellow teachers to continue bringing our students to rural communities to live with our landless farmers and fisherfolks, to volunteer as teachers in Lumad schools, to help organize our workers and striking contractual workers, to become volunteers for human rights organization, and join our women in their fight to end misogyny. Let us defy the threats of state armed agents. These activities are integral part of our pedagogical duty to make our teachings have impact on the lives of our marginalized fellow citizens. Let us not allow ourselves to be immobilized by fear resulting from these threats. Let us defend our academic freedom against fascist intrusion.
Let us encourage our students to do their research and theses based on the struggles of the marginalized sectors of our society. Let us not be frightened and dissuaded from doing our solemn duty to use our classes to better and improve the lives of our people. We should not be deterred from carrying out our teaching duties to raise the consciousness of our students to question all institutions and beliefs that reinforce the “culture of silence”. Education is not simple transmission of dead and unusable knowledge to the young generation. Education is a weapon to bring down institutions that perpetuate fascism, tyranny, and to debunk myths that justify exploitation, discrimination, reduce education to producing “happy robots”.
STOP RED TAGGING OF SCHOOLS!
ACTIVISM IS NOT A CRIME!
STOP HARASSING MEMBERS OF ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS!
DOWN WITH STATE TERRORISM!
DOWN WITH FASCISM!
DEFEND ACADEMIC FREEDOM AGAINST FASCIST ATTACKS!