IT'S all for the teachers this week. It starts on September 28 where the Chinese-Filipino community celebrated the birthday of the ancient Chinese teacher Confucius, and it ends this Monday with a rally on World Teacher's Day.
Knowing a bit of Chinese history, the times of Confucius is similar to the present state we have. Confucius taught in a time of war, where villagers in small states are caught between leaders and armies invading one another's lands.
Fast forward now, we see the same conditions where idealistic teachers teach in lumad community schools that are disturbed by the presence of soldiers and paramilitary who open fire outside their campuses and harassed students and teachers in search of rebels. The Save Our Schools noted some 87 of these schools have been attacked by state forces this year, the worse happened in Surigao del Sur with the killing of Alcadev director Emerito 'Tatay Emok' Samarca.
Ever the teacher, when Confucius was asked what he thinks about government killing their opponents, he said, "In your government what is the need of killing? If you desire what is good, the people will be good. The character of a ruler is like the wind and that of the people is like grass. In whatever direction the wind blows, the grass always bends."
That statement made a thousand years ago, still makes sense now. It should shake our government to its senses why lumad schools and communities are being driven out. The military and its cohorts claim there are rebels in communities, and make ridiculous claims that the schools are built by rebels where children are taught to fight. There is no sense to this when community schools have been accredited by the Department of Education to help the government to serve the lumads who are in the bottom of the country's illiteracy rate.
There is no sense in what the military calls peace and development outreach program in the countrysides when the peace is characterized by mouths muzzled, bullets clicking, schools closed down such as the latest one in White Culaman, Bukidnon and communities driven out like in Talaingod and Han-ayan.
What character does this speak of this Liberal Party-government which blows in whatever direction without knowing where it's headed? Disasters and displacements has only mowed or cut down people like hapless grass. Evacuees and displaced communities are not only seen among the lumads but also in Yolanda survivors in Tacloban, war refugees in Zamboanga City, and communities in Pablo-affected areas.
Confucius taught that government needs to lead with moral ethics. Sadly, we see the Liberal Party- government not having the fibre of compassion and dignity, a disaster responding to more disasters with missing relief projects, horrendous traffic, bungled peace talks, and elites plundering our resources.
But this is about the teachers, we still salute them for their tireless dedication to mould the children and youth with the skills to think and stand for themselves. We salute the teachers of Alcadev, Salugpongan and MISFI schools who continue to teach in evacuation centers in Davao and in Surigao. When asked why they do it, you get the heartiest response: "This is to continue Tatay Emok's dream". "If we leave, who is going to teach them?"
Teachers then and now have been neglected. But another Confucian teacher, Mencius, said, "If the ruler has great faults. If he repeats and does not heed criticisms, then (the people) will change them."
On October 5, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers would lead teachers to the streets to demand their rights and better compensation for their service. In 2016, perhaps they and the rest of the Filipinos would be teaching elite rulers a lesson by booting them out of office.