WHAT WENT BEFORE: ‘Lumad’ schools
MANILA, Philippines — In July 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte accused “lumad” (indigenous) schools of “teaching children to rebel against the government” and threatened to bomb them using the Army and the Air Force.
Lumad elders denied the accusation, but dozens of schools have been shuttered or destroyed.
In September 2017, at least 30 schools and 1,300 students were displaced in the military’s continuing assault on lumad schools.
Human rights group Karapatan said volunteer teachers were also being harassed through what the group said were trumped-up charges filed by the military.
Barug Katungod, a group that monitors the human rights situation in Mindanao, claimed it had documented 532 attacks on lumad schools in the region during the Duterte administration as of June 2018.
The group said 385 of the attacks, or 72 percent, happened since martial rule was declared following the May 23, 2017, siege of Marawi by terrorists who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadi group in the Middle East.
In July 2018, with at least 33 schools closed down and 4,600 elementary and high school students displaced, lumad camped in front of the building of the Department of Education (DepEd) in Koronadal City.
The DepEd had ordered the closure of the schools.
The group Center for Lumad Advocacy, Networking and Services Inc. (CLANS) organized what it called “kampuhan,” or camp out, to support the lumad demand that the DepEd give their schools permits to operate.
As of March 2019, at least 73 of 228 lumad schools in Mindanao have closed, according to Save Our Schools (SOS), a network of nongovernmental organizations and Church groups.
The lumad in Mindanao are part of nearly 17 million indigenous people in the country.
They are among the poorest of minority groups, with little access to social services, including education and health care. —INQUIRER RESEARCH
SOURCE: INQUIRER ARCHIVES
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