Makabayan bloc wants suspension of 55 lumad schools probed
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives filed Monday a resolution seeking an immediate investigation into the suspension of the 55 lumad schools of Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (Salugpongan) by the Department of Education (DepEd) Region XI.
The group, composed of Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas; ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro; and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, said the suspension of the schools was “in flagrant violation to the due process rights of Salugpongan, its administrators, teachers, staff, and students.”
They also said that DepEd issued the suspension order “without proper investigation as it relied only on the report and self-serving affidavits submitted by the NTF ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict).”
The party-list lawmakers likewise assailed Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s claims that the schools were not following guidelines set forth by DepEd, and “teaching students to rebel against the government.”
“The DepEd even (failed) to inform Salugpongan officers beforehand about the said Order before releasing the suspension order to the media. It is not only unjust and unethical but clearly smacks of discrimination against the Lumads of Salugpongan,” they noted.
The administrators, students, teachers, and staff of the lumad schools, particularly the Salugpongan schools, have been subjected to “red-tagging, vilification and harassment for several years,” according to the Save Our Schools Network.
“The threat arising from the red-tagging and the actual occupation of military forces of school buildings caused its intermittent closures in the past years,” the lawmakers added.
The lawmakers further cited Article 14, Section 2.4 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “The State shall Encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning, independent, and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs.”
They further pointed out that Article 14 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which says that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.” /kga
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