VICE President Sara Duterte. Photo from Inday Sara Duterte Fb page


Vice President Sara Duterte has called on the Marcos administration to “not fall into the trap” of holding peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

This is in response to Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT-Teachers) party-list Rep. France Castro’s comments that the Education chief should focus on resolving the education crisis without resorting to “red-tagging.”

In a statement, Duterte said that Castro’s remarks confirmed the ACT Teachers’ party-list as “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.”

Classes in six towns in Masbate have been suspended because of the fighting between the Army and NPA operatives in the area.

“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,” Duterte added.

She described Castro as a “duplicitous” character and this was only confirmed by her attempt to “lawyer” for the NPA.

Duterte said that while Castro continues to ignore her challenge to condemn the NPA, she “slipped into the conversation” a call for the reopening of peace talks between the government and the NDF.

“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 NDF, the NPA, ” she said.

She added that negotiating with the NDF is always “doomed to fail” and it would only benefit the NPA and groups such as ACT Teachers.

She said that instead of peace talks, there should be a “collective effort as a nation” to protect learners from threats such as the NPA, and that peace talks should not be the highlight in the need for its resumption.

“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,” Duterte said.

Earlier, Duterte called the proposal of ACT Teachers to increase the number of teachers to 30,000 per year and have a budget of P100 billion a year as “unrealistic and impossible.”

In a subsequent statement, Castro said that their call of hiring 30,000 new teachers and constructing 50,000 classrooms per year until 2028 are “legitimate and logical” demands.

She said that ACT has been calling for these reforms but it was only during the time of Duterte that the call has been described as “unrealistic and impossible.”

Castro admitted that the incidents in Masbate are condemnable and urged the creation of an independent probe panel composed of forensic experts and the Commission on Human Rights to know the real perpetrators of the gun firing near the schools.

Meanwhile, ACT Chairman Vladimer Quetua said ACT party-list is the “genuine voice of teachers in Congress.”

Quetua said that since the party-list’s formation and participation in the 2010 elections, it never lost an election because of “the consistent support of teachers and education support personnel in the public and private sector.”