Credit: www.bulatlat.com
Credit: www.bulatlat.com

Philippines: Global education union movement calls for justice for murdered colleague

published 18 August 2020 updated 10 October 2023

Education International is outraged by the killing of education unionist Zara Alvarez in the Philippines. The global union federation support its national affiliate, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines (ACT), in its demands for justice for the murdered human rights activist.

Education unionist Zara Alvarez was killed in Bacolod City in the Philippines on 17 August. A member of the ACT and a human rights activist, “her dedication to serve the disadvantaged in the face of overwhelming adversities reignited the same passion that pushed thousands of teachers to enter the profession, despite the crises-ridden public education systems”, said Raymond Basilio, ACT General Secretary.

The union strongly condemns the murder of Alvarez, who was “an educator, volunteer ACT Bacolod Coordinator, and human rights worker”, added Basilio, who is a member of Education International’s Executive Board.

Attacks on human rights defenders

“She had been harassed, vilified, imprisoned, and now murdered,” he said.

Along with the new Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, measures taken by the Duterte administration seek to legitimise the regime’s fascist attacks on ardent human rights defenders like Zara, he explained.

Alvarez fought tirelessly alongside fellow teachers for decent salaries and working conditions, Basilio acknowledged. She was instrumental in establishing the local chapter of the ACT Region VI Union, while simultaneously volunteering for other humanitarian efforts in Bacolod.

Fight for rights continues

He was also adamant that “while the education sector mourns the loss of one beacon of light, our resolve to advance our fight for rights and freedoms remains strong.

“They may have killed Zara Alvarez, but her principled defiance against all injustices will persist in our continuing fight for the people’s rights and freedoms,” he concluded.

Education International: Call for justice and support for Filipino educators and citizens

Education International has voiced its solidarity with the ACT.

“We are sickened and enraged to learn of the extrajudicial execution of Zara Alvarez, who joined the terrible and far-too-long list of killed Filipino human rights activists,” said David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International.

“We at Education International add our indignation and call for justice along with the growing protests against extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the country, and support our ACT colleagues in this tragic moment.”