Toronto to the Philippines: Union Solidarity

Raymond Basilio, Secretary General of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), stands and speaks in front of a seated audience. The presentation screen behind him displays the ACT logo.

On June 22nd, CPSO-Toronto supported a community discussion featuring Raymond Basilio, secretary-general of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), a progressive teacher’s union in the Philippines.

The event was organised by the International Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP-TO) and hosted by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO). Raymond’s trip to Canada was organised by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Raymond Basilio discussing ways to support education workers in the Philippines.

Raymond spoke about the situation facing education workers in the Philippines, including poor wages and conditions for teachers, being tagged as terrorists by government officials, and both the kidnapping and extrajudicial killings of union organisers.

Raymond Basilio and ACT comrades speak at a press conference in 2019.

The talk was followed by a cultural performance by an ICHRP member, responses from various sectors (education workers, solidarity, youth and migrant workers), and a community discussion regarding the content of the talk and what forms solidarity could take from the individuals and organisations attending the event.

ACT’s calls to action included public statements of support by progressive organisations and unions, building links between organisations in Canada and the Philippines, and organising learning trips from workers and activists in Canada to experience conditions in the Philippines firsthand. To find out more about exposure trips, read about the panel discussion we held on June 5th with Philippine Solidarity and Education Tours (PSET).

CPSO-TO thanks the various organisations and unions who were able to support Raymond’s trip, and hopes that organisations in both countries can strengthen their ties against assaults by the ruling class at home and abroad.

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