ACT Region X Coordinator Slams Death Threat
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Region X President Ophelia G. tabacon received a death threat through Facebook Messenger on Thursday, April 25, 2018 at 8:35 PM from a certain Ashley Mendoza, “You’re already on the watch list of people who will die (Nasa watch list kna 4 kamatayan).”
This is the first direct threat to Tabacon, a well-loved teacher, at Camaman-an Elementary School in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. Prior to this, ACT and ACT Teachers Partylist have been tagged as supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA). On March 22 and 29, leaflets distributed by Movement Against Terrorism – Northern Mindanao Region (MAT-NMR), a vindictive lampoon of a legitimate alliance of organizations and individuals who stand against tyranny named Movement Against Tyranny – NMR identified ACT, other peoples’ organizations (POs), and their personalities as dangerous to the public. These baseless accusations not only stigmatize organizations genuinely working for peoples’ rights and welfare but also legitimize any harm that could be carried out against them.
“As ACT Teachers party list, ACT’s legislative agenda is focused on advancing teachers’ and peoples’ welfare. ACT was the primary author of Republic Act (RA) 10653 or “Tax Exemption of 13th Month Pay and other Bonuses” and RA 10931 “Free Higher Education Act”, among others. ACT also lobbied for an increase in chalk allowance from PhP 700 to PhP 1,000 in 2012 to PhP 1,500 in 2016, PhP 2,500 in 2017, and PhP 3,500 in 2018. Public school teachers and government employees also receive PhP 6,000 in clothing allowance because of ACT’s nationwide campaign. What is terror-related in all of these efforts?”, Tabacon inquired.
Locally, ACT as a union under Tabacon’s leadership has had unprecedented gains. ACT is not only duly recognized by the Department of Education (DepEd), it was recently admitted to the DepEd Region X Division of Cagayan De Oro City Grievance Committee by virtue of Memorandum No. 88, s. 2019. “We want the teachers’ specific demands to be heard and routed to the proper channels. We also want the authorities to respond in a timely manner. Being a member of the Grievance Committee can facilitate this process,” noted Tabacon.
“Ashley Mendoza’s intimidation, harassment, rumor-mongering, and trouble-making will not tarnish ACT’s achievements. Nor will it affect me and my work in any way,” asserted Tabacon. “In case something bad happens to me, I will hold Ashley Mendoza or the cowardly government forces hiding behind her name accountable,” she added.
“It is only the government and its minions who will benefit politically if we are eliminated. We expose their negligence by filling in the gaps in their programs. Killing responsible citizens who are ready to help the underprivileged will only distance the government from its constituents. The government should welcome the contribution of ACT to the development of teachers who form part of its constituency. We, teachers, are essential in nation-building. We are always ready to help. The government should not treat us as enemies,” she ended.#