On the occasion of the World Teachers’ Day 2021
In observance of the World Teacher’s Day, the regional chapter of Katipunan ng mga Gurong Makabayan (KAGUMA) in Southern Mindanao salutes all Filipino teachers for painstakingly devoting themselves to the education of the broad masses amid the upsurge of fascist attacks by the US-Duterte regime against teachers, their students and academic institutions, and its continued negligence of the education, especially during Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Thus, we mark this occasion with strong protest and condemnation of Duterte’s reactionary state, not only for making our teachers experimental lab rats of its bungled “blended learning,” but also for continuing to prey on Filipino’s human rights and assault academic freedom anchored in the regime’s counterinsurgency witchhunt.
Approaching the last year of his presidential term, Duterte has racked up the fascist suppression of teachers and academic institutions, especially the illegal and unjust closure of hundreds of Lumad community schools in 2019. We never forget how Duterte’s armed state forces illegally detained and tormented teachers Roshelle Porcadilla and Chad Booc along with students and their guardians after violently dragging them out of their learning sanctuaries earlier this year.
The brazen assault of the Lumad bakwit school in Cebu City will never be the last of Duterte’s brutal display of fascist force. As a matter of fact, we fear that more teachers and students are in danger of falling victims to many forms of violations as the McCarthyist National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is set on clamping down on academic freedom. The Armed Forces of the Philippines via the NTF-ELCAC has not let-up on getting rid of the University of the Philippines – Department of National Defense (UP-DND) Accord, the landmark agreement that protects the university from military incursion.
More recently, schools and universities were forced to pull out NDFP books from their libraries along with other academic texts that the Duterte regime deemed “subversive.” It is fairly obvious that the rotten regime is afraid of a critical and educated population that threatens to end its tyrannical rule. Filipino teachers have long been in the crosshairs of Duterte’s fascism for being in a pivotal position to expose the systemic oppression of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
Even Duterte’s proposed 2022 national budget manifests the regime’s criminal neglect, grave mispriority, and warmongering. Teachers remain underpaid despite being overwhelmed by the demands of distance and blended learning. It is absolutely insulting for teachers that the entry level salary of soldiers of the AFP is P6,000 higher than that of new public school teachers, not to mention the periodic increases in allowance and benefits of armed state agents that serve as Duterte’s loyal fascist lapdogs.
To make things worse, Duterte’s favored NTF-ELCAC will binge in its P28-billion peso beefed-up budget next year while the Commission on Higher Education (CheD) will endure the collosal P10-billion budget cut in the 2022 budget. Our public education has long been handicapped by state abandonment and neoliberal policies even before the onslaught of Covid-19 and is poised to suffer even further as academic institutions scramble to address specialized needs and challenges posed by the pandemic. Today, Duterte remains blind and deaf to the people’s call for universal access to education and safe resumption of physical classes.
At this unprecedented time of global public health crisis, Duterte’s misprioritization reflects the atrocious blueprint of his fascist regime: to victimize Filipinos with fascist impunity instead of ensuring the education of the masses.
Hence, we call on all Filipino teachers to join the growing resistance against the dying US-Duterte regime under the banner of Katipunan ng mga Gurong Makabayan (KAGUMA), the revolutionary mass organization of teachers. We must advance a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented educational system that confronts and dismantles Duterte’s anti-science governance, and responds to the collective well-being and development of the masses.
In order to overthrow the fascist Duterte regime, we call on teachers to join the armed struggle in the countryside, alongside the most underserved Lumad and peasant masses. It is imperative that we inculcate a liberating pedagogy and revolutionary culture that will end the class oppression of the toiling masses. It is therefore only through the national democratic revolution that education becomes a tool for national and social liberation instead of merely thriving as diploma mills of the capitalist cog of oppression.
In this manner, our oft-repeated parting gesture of “class dismissed” shall take a whole new meaning.
Filipino teachers and educators unite!
Resist and defeat the fascist attacks of the US-Duterte regime against the academe!
Advance the national democratic revolution until victory!