Hands off teachers’ union leader! – Solon
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative France Castro condemned the harassment of Alliance of Concerned Teachers-NCR (ACT-NCR) Union President Joselyn “Ma’am Joy” Martinez by three policemen in civilian clothes in her school, Imelda Elementary School, Malabon using an invalid warrant of arrest today.
The policemen, wearing only shorts and slippers, followed Ma’am Joy, 45 years old, from 9:30 to 11:10 a.m around the school, insisting on arresting her even while she was holding a class. The defective warrant indicates the name of a certain “Joselyn Ramirez”. Even after she showed her identification card bearing her name, the men were remain insistent on arresting her. Most of the text of the warrant can hardly be read due to poor quality of printing. The warrant was issued without a proper preliminary investigation with the full participation of Ma’am Joy as the accused. She has not even received a copy of the complaint.
“This is a clear case of political harassment against union teacher-leaders. Our Constitution and the Public Sector Labor Management Council (PSLMC) guarantee the right of the public sector to organize and form unions. This attempted arrest is harassment to the union with an intent to subdue and pacify them. Attacks against Ma’am Joy or any other union leader are attacks against the membership of the union they represent,” stressed Castro, who was president of ACT NCR Union prior to her election as party-list Representative.
Ma’am Joy is a staunch advocate for the rights and welfare of teachers and other government employees, including salary increase, benefits and better working conditions. Aside from her post as the ACT NCR Union President, she is a second-termer president of their school’s faculty club and the current president of the Malabon Public Elementary School Teachers’ Association. ACT NCR Union is the first union of public school teachers and the biggest union in the country today. It successfully concluded the first Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) for public school teachers, covering 62,000 members in NCR.
“This attempted arrest is intended to impede her from fulfilling union work and to send a chilling signal to all union leaders and its members,” the solon remarked.
“The Department of Education (DepEd) failed to implement most of the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) between the ACT-NCR Union like economic benefits and provisions for better working conditions. At present, ACT NCR Union is pushing for the implementation of its provisions, appealing to DepEd and DBM leadership for the funding of benefits under the CNA and the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers such as the CNA incentive, overtime pay and medical check-up, among others. Now, Union teacher-leaders who are just exercising their right and the rights of the 62,000 public school teachers in NCR face harassment,” Castro said.
“Ma’am Joy is a known active critic of anti-teacher local and national policies hence she is subject to political harassment. This harassment won’t stop the Union from fighting for teachers’ rights, welfare and benefits. We call on all teachers and unionists to remain vigilant, to stand our ground and continue to advance our legitimate demands,” the solon ended.
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