Teachers in the Philippines, organised in their union the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) are having to fight on multiple fronts. ACT is leading a campaign against the increased militarisation of schools. In a series of shocking events in the Bukidnon province in August a father and several young people and children were murdered by soldiers, who accused them of being 'rebels'. On September 1st the headteacher of an indigenous alternative school was gunned down and killed, on the pretext that the school was a training ground for guerillas. 

As we reported earlier this year, because of the lack of publicly funded education, many peasant and indigenous communities have set up their own schools. These schools are now subject to attacks, in particular by the military, including using them as military bases, and as spaces for a counter-insurgency campaign. This is particularly directed at communities who are standing up to mining, logging and agribusinesses. The counter-insurgency campaign has resulted in the criminalisation of resistance, including the killing of thousands of activists and leaders.  These government and paramilitary attacks on schools and teachers, are very reminiscent of the attacks on esceualas normales in Mexico, especially the abduction and probable murder of the 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa. 

The ACT is doing brave and admirable work in exposing and fighting these attacks. At the same time it is fighting for improved pay for Philippines teachers, with teachers across the country engaged in a sit-down strike yesterday, aimed not at disrupting education but at drawing attention to the low priority given to teachers work - a starting teacher earns just $400 a month. Teachers all over the country were lighting candles last night, demanding quality pay for quality education. The ACT is also campaigning against unfunded 'reform' plans which are only going to increase the privatisation of schools - with global education Pearson leading the charge of corporations looking to profit.