Violence. This was the US-Duterte’s regime’s gift to teachers and their students. This Teachers’ Month, two teachers fell victim to killing attempts, while four others were illegally arrested.
In Bukidnon, state agents shot couple Zhaydee and Ramil Cabañalez, in front of students at Dalit Elementary School in Barangay Lumbayan, Valencia, last October 15 in the morning. Cabañalez sustained two gunshot wounds on her chest and feet, and remains in critical condition. Her husband and students managed to escape unharmed.
The two are members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). Since last year, the group has been tagged by the Armed of Forces of the Philippines as a communist front because of its campaign for salary increase and benefits.
On October 10, elements of the 402nd IBde and police illegally arrested two teachers and members of members of the Rural Missionary of the Philippines (RMP) in Barangay Limaha, Butuan City. The victims were identified as Melissa Comiso, head of the RMP’s literacy and numeracy program for Lumads, and Nore Torregosa, a volunteer teacher. The two were accused of NPA membership and were slapped with fabricated charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
In Sultan Kudarat, elements of the 37th IB and police arrested Gina Ciano, a volunteer teacher of the Center for Lumad Advocacy Networking Services in Sangay Village, Kalamansig on October 14. She was accused of being an NPA official who was purportedly the third “most-wanted” criminal in the province. She was slapped with multiple fabricated charges of murder and frustrated murder. On the same day, intelligence agents arrested Digna Mateo, coordinator of ACT in Bulacan, in front of the Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Marilao, Bulacan. A week earlier, Mateo reported that she was tailed by riding-in-tandem men after campaigning for a union of ACT-Central Luzon.
Closure of 55 Lumad schools hit
THE SAVE OUR Schools Network (SOS), students and teachers condemned the decision issued by the Department of Education (DepEd)-Region 11 ordering the closure of 55 Lumad schools in Davao. The SOS asserted that the accusations of Hermogenes Esperon, vice chairperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, that the schools were used for NPA recruitment is baseless.
In a protest last October 11 at the Freedom Park, Davao City, they called the DepEd fact-finding a fraud as its personnel have not even visited the said schools.
Salugpongan was founded by Talaingod Manobo leaders in 2003 and was accredited by DepEd in 2007. It provides free education to Lumads and supports the struggle to defend their ancestral lands in the Pantaron Range.
Violence in Leyte
A MEMBER OF the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines was gunned down by suspected armed state agents last October 16 in MacArthur, Leyte. The victim was identified as Maureen Japzon, a writer of Bulatlat and official of the Comelec in the said town. She authored various articles which exposed cases of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the AFP in Eastern Visayas under the command of Jovito Palparan.
On the same day, Renee Superior, councilor of Barangay Libungao, Kananga, was killed in the same town.