March 30, 2023 – I am glad that France Castro confirmed that ACT Teachers is, without a doubt, a fake representative of learners, educators, and other members of the education sector in Congress with her continued refusal to publicly and explicitly condemn the New People’s Army’s violence in Masbate.
That ACT Teachers is a sham and truly does not represent the education sector in Congress was even validated by her call for ‘forensic experts’ and the Commission on Human Rights to “see the real perpetrators of the gun firing near the schools.”
Castro’s call only confirms her duplicitous character — and was buttressed by her attempt to ‘lawyer’ for the terrorist NPAs.
It was a tactic intended to cast doubts over the integrity of official reports that the sighting of elements of NPA in an area near a school in Barangay Locso-an, Placer town, triggered the Masbate fighting.
It’s no longer surprising that Castro would insinuate that government forces were behind the March 22 bomb explosion in Locso-an that wounded two government soldiers.
And while she continues to ignore my challenge for ACT Teachers to condemn the NPAs, Castro almost neatly slipped into the conversation yet another call for the reopening of the peace negotiations between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
May I respectfully warn the Marcos administration not to fall into this trap.
Castro’s assertion that the peace negotiations would address the root causes of the armed conflict was ludicrous. Instead, it would only give legitimacy to the absurdity of the terrorism perpetrated by the armed wing of the NDFP, the NPAs.
Negotiating with the NDFP is always doomed to fail.
Malinaw sa kasaysayan na ang magbe-benepisyo lang ng peace talks ay ang NPA at mga grupong katulad ng ACT Teachers.
No, the Masbate violence does not highlight the need for the resumption of the peace talks.
It highlights the need for our collective effort as a nation to protect our learners from threats brought by groups like the NPA.
It highlights the NPA’s appetite for violence and its insatiable thirst for the blood of its fellow Filipinos.
It also highlights the complicity of people like France Castro and groups like ACT Teachers.
SARA Z. DUTERTE
Vice President of the Philippines
Secretary of the Department of Education