Courtesy of the Arthur Svensson Prize
Courtesy of the Arthur Svensson Prize

We stand with France Castro. Education International firmly condemns the death threats against the Filipino congresswoman

published 20 November 2023 updated 22 March 2024

France Castro has received repeated death threats from Rodrigo Duterte, former President of the Philippines. The lawmaker has filed a formal complaint against Duterte, making this the first criminal case against Duterte after the end of his mandate.

“We stand in solidarity with France Castro, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and all human rights activists in the Philippines. France is bravely taking a stand against Duterte and his violent repression tactics. Duterte must be held accountable and activists like France must be protected.”

David Edwards, Education International General Secretary

France Castro is the former Secretary General of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Education International member organisation in the Philippines, and a member of the Philippine House of Representatives for the 19th Congress.

In her role as Congresswoman, Castro has opposed the request of Vice President and Education Minister Sara Duterte, daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, for confidential funds in the education budget. Castro’s position on the education budget has triggered vicious attacks from Rodrigo Duterte who falsely accused Castro of being a communist and threatened her life on national television.

At the end of October, Castro filed a legal complaint against Rodrigo Duterte over the death threats. After the court issued a subpoena ordering Duterte to appear before the Office of the City Prosecutor in December, the former President threatened Castro’s life again.

"Duterte's grave threats, and the fact of their continued spread even until today, present dangers to my life, liberty, and security," Castro stressed in the complaint. "With that knowledge, I now live in constant fear that I will be a victim of such extrajudicial killing, forced disappearance, illegal arrest or detention that he repeatedly admitted having perpetrated in the past."

The global education community stands with France Castro and all human rights defenders in the Philippines and calls on the justice system to hold Rodrigo Duterte accountable for his actions.