604 Butuan teachers find relief after cutting ties with ACT
By Alexander Lopez / Philippine News Agency
BUTUAN CITY – Some 604 public elementary and high school teachers from this city thanked the government for helping them cut ties with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), an alleged front organization of the National Democratic Front (NDF) of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
The teachers formally disaffiliated from ACT after a seminar on Situational Awareness and Knowledge Management (SAKM) and on National Security Concerns conducted by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency in Region 10 (NICA-10) at the Agusan National High School here on May 6.
The activity was also participated in by top officials of the Department of Education in Caraga (DepEd-13), the military, and the police.
Among those who disaffiliated from ACT was Rey Collado, the District Supervisor of South West District of DepEd Butuan and the designated ACT chairperson in the area.
“We are glad that government agencies, especially those in the security sector, are doing this kind of activity,” Collado said in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency Caraga and People's Television (PTV) network after the seminar.
He said the government officials present during the disaffiliation process and the pledge of loyalty to the government can vouch for the truthfulness of their statements particularly on their impressions as members of ACT.
Collado said he realized the need to cut ties with the organization when a school official here was arrested in March.
He was referring to Rosanilla B. Consad, the assistant principal of San Vicente National High School here, who was arrested for attempted homicide.
Authorities alleged that Consad worked for a rebel underground movement known as KAGUMA or the Katipunan ng Gurong Makabayan.
In a separate interview, Marilou Zerrudo, a headteacher from Butuan Central Elementary School, advised teachers to be aware of the kind of organizations they want to join.
“They must also determine what benefits they can get once they join an organization,” Zerrudo said.
Manuel Orduna, the regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region, said the disaffiliation of the 604 teachers from ACT is the first in the country.
Top military and police officials in the Caraga region also lauded the courage of the public school teachers.
In a statement issued on May 10, Brig. Gen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of the Army's 402nd Infantry Brigade (402Bde), hopes other sectors would emulate the "courage of the teachers by disaffiliating themselves from the legal front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF".
The NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)