A PROGRESSIVE teachers group, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in Northern Mindanao, was alarmed after its president received a death threat.
Ophelia Tabacon, ACT chapter president in the region, said a certain Ashley Mendoza messaged him through Facebook Messenger on Thursday, April 25, saying: "Nasa watch list kna 4 kamatayan (You're already on the watch list of people who will die)."
Tabacon, a teacher at Camaman-an Elementary school, said this is the first direct threat she received.
Before this, ACT, as a union and a partylist, has been tagged as a supporter of the New People's Army (NPA).
Also on March 22 and 29, leaflets distributed by the Movement Against Terrorism–Northern Mindanao Region (MAT-NMR), named Movement Against Tyranny–NMR, identified ACT, other mass organizations, and their personalities as dangerous to the public.
Tabacon, meanwhile, reminded the people behind this scheme that ACT’s legislative agenda is focused on advancing teachers’ and peoples’ welfare.
She said ACT was the primary author of Republic Act (RA) 10653 or “Tax Exemption of 13th Month Pay and other Bonuses” and Republic Act 10931 or the “Free Higher Education Act,” among others.
She added that ACT also lobbied for an increase in chalk allowance from P700 to P1,000 in 2012 to P1,500 in 2016, P2,500 in 2017, and P3,500 in 2018.
"Public school teachers and government employees also receive P6,000 in clothing allowance because of ACT’s nationwide campaign. What is terror-related in all of these efforts?” Tabacon asked.
She said that locally, ACT, as a union under Tabacon’s leadership, is not only duly recognized by the Department of Education (DepEd), but it was also recently admitted to the DepEd-Northern Mindanao Division of Cagayan De Oro City Grievance Committee by virtue of Memorandum 88, series of 2019.
This means that the concerns of the teachers under the union will be delivered to proper channels and expect solutions the soonest possible, she said.
“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. But in case something bad happens to me, I will hold Ashley Mendoza or the cowardly government forces hiding behind her name accountable,” she said.
“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 added. (PJ Orias)