Manila Bulletin : Step up electoral education, teachers told

8 October 2021

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot | Manila Bulletin

A group of education workers urged teachers to “actively educate” the students and the public on the importance of the upcoming elections as the filing of candidacy for the 2022 polls closed Friday, Oct. 8.

“Our teachers have the moral and patriotic duty to help our voters grasp the crucial role of [the] electoral process in bringing about pro-people reforms to our society,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

ACT called on teachers at all levels in both public and private schools nationwide to further explain the importance of the upcoming elections and the opportunities and – as well as the dangers — that come with it.

“As mentors, we are in a favorable position to educate them on the principle that must guide their electoral choices — democracy, good governance and social justice, and to reject tyranny, corruption, patronage politics and political dynasties,” Basilio said.

After the COC filing, Basilio said that the country now has a picture of next year’s electoral race. Thus, teachers should step up when it comes to voter and electoral education.

In particular, Basilio warned of the “looming come back” of the Marcoses in Malacañang and the “perpetuation” of the Duterte’s in power which, he said, spells “doom for the nation.”

Basilio alleged that the Marcos and Duterte regimes proved to be the “darkest periods in our country’s contemporary history.”

He added that during their rule, “our people suffered from the most brazen corruption, most abject crises and worst human rights violations.”

Basilio lamented that even the Department of Education (DepEd) “officially promotes” teaching about the human rights abuses during Martial Law “while we are direct victims and witnesses to the ineptitude and tyranny of the Duterte regime.”

“These stories have to be told to help our voters to be more discerning,” he added.

Basilio said that the challenge for teachers becomes more demanding given the results of various electoral surveys that yield relatively high numbers for the Duterte’s and the Marcoses.

“Duterte and Marcos’ high survey ratings only show how crucial and how big our task is,” Basilio said.

Teachers, he added, cannot just sit back and distance themselves from politics as at stake here is the future of the nation and of the very children that they teach today.

“We can start by educating our students and their parents and encouraging them to do the same,” Basilio added.