MANILA – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) condemned the Philippine National Police (PNP) over the profiling scheme it does on teachers in various parts of the country.
The ACT said the profiling is a cause of concern as it violates teachers’ right to self-organization, freedom of expression and assembly, right to privacy, and the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
“In essence, this PNP memo on inventory and profiling of ACT members is very similar to the tokhang list that the PNP forced barangay officials to fill out,” the group said in a statement.
It added: “The inventory of their teachers is part of the Duterte administration’s grand fascist scheme to suppress all forms of opposition. PNP, back off! Hands off our teachers! Hands off our schools! Stop profiling ACT members!”
The teacher’s group said police officers doing the profiling recently visited schools in Malabon, Cebu, Isabela, and some Mindanao provinces, asking for the names of their members.
Antonio Tinio, ACT’s representative in the Congress, said in a television interview that the intelligence gathering by the police force is a “serious threat to the ACT organization and the safety of the members.”
“ACT is not in any way doing anything illegal, taking up arms. ACT is a union of public school teachers and all its activities are legal and protected by the Constitution,” Tinio told ANC’s Dateline Philippines.
“Our fear is because the administration has associated our organization with the CPP-NPA, the security agencies will take that as a signal to use violence and force against our members, which has happened in the past,” he added.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there is nothing wrong with the PNP’s move as they will only monitor members of the ACT who have ties with communist rebels “if they have shown any acts that will be inimical to the state.”
“Siguro ang nakikita ko diyan, baka ‘yung mga prino-profile o mino-monitor ‘yung mga nakikita ng PNP na maling ginagawa nila. Kasi tandaan nyo na ‘yung ACT is a legal organization na identified sa kaliwa,” Panelo said during a news briefing in Palace.
Panelo added that if “one or two” ACT members are being monitored, it’s likely because they are suspected of conspiring with communist rebels to bring down the Duterte administration.
“If there are such cases, there is a reason to surveil [sic]. For example, if someone reports to you that this teacher was seen interacting with those identified NPA (New People’s Army), if you are the police, won’t you monitor their actions?” Panelo said.
National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Eleazar also defended the move as “perfectly legal” and will be used by the police for “future references.”
“Assuming na kung mayroon nito, mayroon po bang mali sa ginagawa pagkuha ng impormasyon? Iyung pagkuha po ng impomasyon sa iba’t ibang organisasyon, bahagi po ng trabaho namin iyan,” Eleazar said.
He added: “Talagang mandato po namin na alamin ang nangyayari sa ating kapaligiran para sa ating programa. Alam namin ang tama at mali at hindi kami gagawa ng mali at hindi kami magto-tolerate ng anumang mali.”
In a related development, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde sacked intelligence officers who allegedly “leaked” the intelligence memorandum calling for the inventory of ACT members.
Albayalde said in a press conference that the leakage of the memorandum has caused unwanted “panic” and “concern” from ACT. He also said that the profiling of names of teachers should not be taken as a threat to their freedom to organize./PN