The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines condemns in the strongest terms the shooting of teacher-unionist Zhaydee Cabañellez, by 4 masked men today, leaving her in critical condition with two gunshot wounds on the chest and two on the feet. The vicious attack happened around 8:00am, during the school’s flag ceremony at Dalet Elementary School in Barangay Lumbayao, Valencia City, Bukidnon, with several witnesses—including school children—around. Cabañellez is the 2017 Outstanding Teacher awardee in her barangay and is also a vigorous union member who have been campaigning for the advancement of the welfare of teachers and of the people.
Following months of profiling, red-tagging, vilification, threats, and harassment, ACT sees this as the worst attack yet on the union. It is worth noting that this strike comes at a time when teachers have been growing in strength and uniting en masse for a substantial salary increase. If this is an attempt to sow fear among teachers who assert for their rights and to quell the burgeoning fight for decent pay, then we urge the government to pay closer attention to the lessons of history—state fascism only breeds resistance among the people. ACT has not and will not cower in the face of vicious repressive measures and increasingly fascist attacks.
We will not let Teacher Zhaydee be just another figure in the growing list of victims of violence, extrajudicial killings, and rights violation of Duterte’s state policy of killing the poor and the masses who are fighting for their rights. We call on DepEd to exhaust all measures to bring justice to Teacher Zhaydee and her family. We challenge Pres. Duterte who has made grand claims of his love for teachers as a son of one to address the growingly brazen attacks and worsening impunity in Mindanao since he put it under Martial Law.
The wanton disregard for human lives under the Duterte administration must not be allowed to continue. It is our duty as educators to fight for human rights and human lives. We will forward our call for justice side-by-side our call for substantial salary increase as both are fights to defend life which is an utmost duty of educators.
15 October 2019
Reference: Joselyn Martinez
Justice for teacher Zhaydee!
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