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Education advocates hold 3-day trooping vs. military attacks on schools

Last July 7-9, the SAVE OUR SCHOOLS NETWORK conducted a 3-day long trooping and dialogue with different concerned institutions and government agencies to bring the issue of DepEd-AFP’s collusion to shut down Lumad community schools in Mindanao. Administrators, teachers and principal of the affected Lumad community schools joined the said activity to personally detail their plight. The group held dialogue with the officials of Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Meetings with the office of senators Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano and Koko Pimentel were also held.


In recent years, SOS Network exposed the horrible impact of the government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan to the lives of Lumad children in Mindanao, particularly the cases of military harassment and attacks on lumad community schools.


These schools have been subjected to intense military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including harassment of teachers, students and community members. Schools are vandalized, destroyed, turned into military barracks/posts and maliciously tagged by the AFP as ‘training ground’ of armed group New People’s Army (NPA).


This concern has already been brought to the attention of Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro last year but to no avail. Military attacks on schools continued with impunity.


Apparently, the DepEd consented and even colluded with the military in attacking lumad schools and depriving children of their right to education.


Recently, the Department of Education Division of Davao del Norte attempted to shut down lumad community schools. In a letter dated May 12 addressed to DepEd Region XI Director Alberto Escobarte, DepEd Division of Davao del Norte Superintendent Josephine Fadul endorse the closure of at least 24 schools of Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Communi ty Learning Center (STTICLC) and Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. Academy (MISFI Academy).



As of this writing, schools are yet to open. Although the schools’ Permit to Operate (PTO) have been issued by the department due to the pressure of various concerned institutions, military presence in the schools and communities continues to hinder schools operations.


Children's Rehabilitation Center (CRC) is a member of SOS Network along with Salinlahi Alliance for Children's Concerns, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), ACT Teacher's Partylist, GABRIELA, GABRIELA Women's Party, KARAPATAN, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Kalipunan ng mga katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas -KATRIBU and Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP).