Sara Duterte confirms new NTF-ELCAC post, says education needed to fight deception 

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Sara Duterte confirms new NTF-ELCAC post, says education needed to fight deception 
Vice President Sara Duterte met with New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell to talk about the bilateral relations between New Zealand and the Philippines on Wednesday (September 21, 2022).
Facebook / Sara Duterte

MANILA, Philippines —  Vice President Sara Duterte, concurrently education chief, confirmed her new post at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, saying in a message that education is “one of the greatest weapons” in the government’s fight against insurgency.

“They have infiltrated our institutions and sectors and remained a serious threat to the well-being of the Filipino People, particularly our youth. Education, therefore, is one of the greatest weapons we can use in suppressing the lies and deceptions of these terrorists and their allied organizations,” Duterte said. 

Nearly a year into her term as Department of Education secretary—a role that entails studying all aspects of the learning crisis during a “critical” recovery phase for millions of students—Duterte said the role has made her realize “how deeply ingrained the problem of insurgency in our country is.”

“(The) enemies are also using education as a machine to propagate their violent ideology and systematically recruit Filipino students. We cannot let them continue preying on the innocence and idealistic nature of the Filipino youth,” Duterte added.

In a speech delivered during NTF-ELCAC’s executive meeting on Wednesday, Duterte said that the government’s approach towards curbing communist-terrorist groups “takes more than military prowess for us to come out victorious.”

NTF-ELCAC and ‘red-tagging’

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers—the organization of teachers that Duterte has repeatedly accused of supporting communist groups—has expressed its concern with Duterte’s new role, pointing to a potential increase in red-tagging incidents.

“We fear that with Vice President Sara Duterte's appointment as the co-vice chair of the NTF-ELCAC, her red-tagging activities will just get worse and will continue to undermine teachers’ freedom of association and human rights,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

Duterte's statements red-tagging ACT prompted the group to elevate it to the International Labor Organization in April, urging the UN body to intervene amid the possible threats to their lives by Duterte’s remarks.

Meanwhile, House Deputy Minority leader France Castro (ACT Teachers) also said that Duterte's appointment could give her discretion over more confidential and intelligence funds, aside from the Department of Education and Office of the Vice President that she already controls.

Castro said in Filipino: "People's taxes will really be used in indecent activities, with Filipinos not knowing what, how, when, who and where exactly it will be spent. You will just see an increase in the incidents of red tagging and all its companion human rights violations like extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and harassment of critics." — With reports by Kristine Joy Patag

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