BURNABY—A national human rights awareness tour by Filipino education activists is swinging through B.C. on the eve of the provincial election—and the featured guest is volunteering for an NDP candidate on E-day while he’s here.
The tour, sponsored by CUPE National’s Global Justice Fund and co-organized by an Ontario CUPE local and the Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, brings two leading Filipino human rights activists to Canada. Antonio Tinio is the national chair of the Philippines’ Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). Ferdinand Rimando Gaite is the national president of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees. Only Tinio is travelling to B.C.
The tour, which lands here during the five days surrounding the election (May 9-13), is part of a worker-to-worker solidarity exchange and will focus on privatization issues and human rights abuses in the Philippines, with a focus on the education sector. ACT is the largest non-traditional teachers’ organization in the country, with 15,000 members nationwide. The union represents workers in K-12 and post-secondary—support staff, teachers and faculty.
Two leaders of ACT have been murdered by state security forces in the past five years due to their advocacy for better working conditions and salaries for teachers and against privatization.
The B.C. leg of the tour will begin on Sunday (May 10) with a Mother’s Day event at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House featuring a presentation by Tinio.
On Monday (May 11), Tinio will hold a public lecture and forum at UBC from 10:30 to 12 noon. At 2 pm, he will drop by CUPE regional office in Burnaby to make a short presentation on privatization and human rights issues.
On Tuesday, which is Election Day, the Filipino activist will volunteer for NDP candidate (Vancouver-Kensington) and Filipino-Canadian Mable Elmore.