[Statement] A call for understanding and compassion (TDC statement on the arrest of a Gensan teacher)
“While we do not condone any violent acts or statements at this period of national emergency, we plea for understanding and human compassion for our colleague. Apparently, the old lady may be desperate, perhaps not for herself or her family but for other people in her community. What she did was a response of a person who cares for her neighbors, albeit in a manner that may be contrary to our existing laws.”
-Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC)
A call for understanding and compassion
(TDC statement on the arrest of a Gensan teacher)
We are saddened by the news report that a public elementary school teacher from Gen. Santos City was arrested by the police yesterday along with her son, who is also a teacher. The arrest was made following a post in social media which according to the authorities is damaging and seditious.
The said teacher, last Friday posted this on her Facebook account, “CALLING THE ATTENTION OF THE GENERALS, MARAMING MAMAMATAY SA GUTOM IF HINDI TAYO MAGTULUNG TULONG NA IREPORT SA PANGULO NA NAPAKAINUTIL NG ATING MAYOR !!!”
After two hours, she again posted another statement that reads, “PANAWAGAN SA MGA WALA NG MAKAING GENERALS. SUGURIN NYO NA NG SABAY SABAY ANG LAGAO GYM. NAKATAMBAK DOON ANG MGA PAGKAING PARA SA INYO.”
The seemingly sarcastic posts allegedly prompted the LGU legal office to file a complaint which eventually leads to her arrest. The son, a 33-year old teacher tried to defend her mother was arrested too.
While we do not condone any violent acts or statements at this period of national emergency, we plea for understanding and human compassion for our colleagues. Apparently, the old lady may be desperate, perhaps not for herself or her family but for other people in her community. What she did was a response of a person who cares for her neighbors, albeit in a manner that may be contrary to our existing laws.
We call on the honorable mayor of General Santos City and the city police as well as the Department of Justice to be more understanding and exercise human compassion. We stand by the earlier pronouncement of Hon. Menardo Guevarra, the good secretary of justice that “During abnormal times like these, when people are prone to commit mistakes or violations of the law, the DOJ will temper the rigor of the law with human compassion.” And we believe that this applies also to an ordinary classroom teacher and not just to a sitting senator, they are both humans, after all.
May this incident also serve as a reminder to our leaders, especially to our local government units to expedite the delivery of assistance to their respective jurisdictions. An open communication system with the communities would also help so as not to develop unrest among the local population.
Lastly, we call on our colleagues in the teaching profession and in the general public to exercise prudence and sobriety amidst this crisis. # March 28, 2020
(Photo courtesy of Rappler)
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