ACT: ‘Just peace now from PH to Middle East’

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MANILA — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines has called on Sunday for ‘just peace’ from the Philippines to the Middle East’ as Lumad evacuees in UCCP Haran suffered another incident of harassment  shortly after the Region XI Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) forwarded its resolution to close down UCCP Haran to the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) for ‘appropriate legal action.’

The RTF-ELCAC is the regional formation of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) institutionalized through Duterte’s EO 70, s. 2018 or the ‘Whole-of-Nation’ Approach to counterinsurgency.

The attack comes on the same date of the Global Day of Action versus US war on Iran where several groups, including ACT, participated and called for just peace.

“As teachers, we are morally and duty-bound to promote peace in our communities. We should stand against all forms of rights violations, whether committed against individuals or nations as a whole. We must be in solidarity with all oppressed and exploited peoples until we achieve just peace,” said  ACT NCR Union President Vladimer Quetua.

ACT denounced the paramilitary group Alamara’s raiding and bludgeoning of UCCP Haran, which serves as a sanctuary to over 500 Lumad evacuees from Talaingod, Davao del Norte—of whom 236 are children and infants. A ‘bakwit school’ was also established in the said church for Lumad children.

“Military forces’ intervention in Lumad people’s lives has brought our IPs nothing but despair and suffering. In the first place, the reason many Lumad flee their communities and leave behind their ancestral lands is because of intense militarization and subsequent harassment they suffer from refusing to allow large mining corporations to exploit their lands. Lumad schools all over Mindanao, which was established by Lumad themselves and some volunteers after years of government neglect,  suffered the same fate after being tagged as a ‘communist breeding grounds’ by the government, with little to no regard over the Lumad’s right to self-determination and children’s right to education,” Quetua lamented.

Quetua said that this new attack not only adds to the trauma already suffered by Lumad evacuees, but is another disruption in the Lumad’s attempt to normalize their lives after being displaced and as they continue to fight for their rights. The union president added that the state has long resorted to red-tagging any group or individual seen to be a threat to the interests of the government and those it seeks to protect as justification for these attacks.

“We therefore call on the state, the NTF-ELCAC and its local formations, to keep its hands off UCCP Haran and Lumad evacuees! We further demand the absolute dismantling of this fascist task force and the recall of EO 70. The Duterte government should instead pursue just peace by addressing the roots of armed conflict; it can start doing so by resuming peace talks with the NDF and signing the CASER,” called Quetua. (Stacy Ang/IA/Currentph.com)

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