Lumad teacher refutes accusations of teaching rebel ideas to students
MANILA, Philippines — A teacher from one of the closed Lumad schools in Compostela Valley has refuted claims that they are teaching children revolutionary ideologies like using weapons and attacking government forces.
According to Jeany Rose Hayahay, it is ironic that they would incorporate building and dismantling guns in their curriculum, while the reason why they were forced to “bakwit” – a colloquial term for moving out or evacuating – was due to violence.
“May mga sinasabi na, ‘yong nare-red tag kami, na nagtuturo ng paano raw po mang-ambush, paano raw po magdismantle ng baril, sa katunayan po nga kaya kami nag-bakwit ayaw po namin makakita ng baril,” Hayahay told INQUIRER.net on the sidelines of a press conference on child rights on Friday.
“In the first place, kaya po kami nag(punta sa) Maynila kasi gusto po namin ilapit, dito sa lungsod, ‘yong complaint namin na may mga documented cases ng military encampment, may mga presence ng military sa school namin,” she added.
Hayahay also insisted that the curriculum they are using was approved by the Department of Education (DepEd), and it is a program oriented to the culture of minorities in the area.
During the press conference, she also showed certificates given by the government – due to expire this year but were not renewed based on recommendations by National Security Adviser and former Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) Chief Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
“Ang tinuturo po namin, naka-base sa IPED (Indigenous People Education) curriculum, at certified po ‘yon. Framework po, under po siya ng DepEd Memo 62 series of 2011, na nakasaad po do’n, ‘yong curriculum po na itituro namin naka-base po siya sa kultura,” Hayahay explained.
“Meron po kaming permit, recognized po kami ng DepEd. At sa sinasabi naman po na qualification ng aming mga guro, DepEd Order 21 series of 2014 na nakasaad do’n, as long as may knowledge ka about sa mother tongue ng community, you are allowed to teach kahit hindi ka degree holder or LET passer,” she added.
Last Sunday, DepEd confirmed the closure of 55 Salugpungan schools for Lumad children over allegations that they are teaching left-leaning and revolutionary ideologies.
Esperon said the schools were not operating in accordance with DepEd rules. The report also banked on an affidavit claiming that teaching modules in Salugpungan schools encouraged students to join anti-government rallies and side with the New People’s Army (NPA).
Hayahay revealed that DepEd’s suggestion that Salugpungan students should be enrolled in existing public schools might not work, because it is too far from their houses.
“‘Yung susunod na school, aabutin po ng isa’t kalahating oras na lakad, (mula) sa school campus ko lang po ‘yon. How much more po do’n sa school na mas malayo?” she asked.
“How much more po do’n po sa iba naming campus na talagang, Grade 1 hanggang Grade 6, tatlong oras po silang naglalakad papunta po sa Salugpungan school na pinaka-malapit? Maliban po d’yan, syempre free education, wala pong binabayaran kapag sa amin,” she added.
She also countered claims they encourage students to rally, claiming they protested on their own because they have personally seen and experienced violence.
“Bakit po ba nag-ra-rally ang mga bata? Mayroon po silang karapatan sapagkat sila po ay direct victim ng militarization, ando’n po sila nang nangyari ang indiscriminate firing sa aming school campus,” she noted.
“Nakita po nila kung paano pinagtangkaan ang isang volunteer teacher, pinagbabaril sa loob ng aming school campus. Nakita po nila, nandoon po sila no’ng nangyari ang mga military encampment,” she added.
Hayahay then expressed hope that DepEd officials could come and visit their schools or even meet with her during her stay in Manila. She said no DepEd official has talked with her since she arrived here.
“Wala pa po. We are looking forward na sana, kasi kami cooperative naman kami, sana makipag-cooperate at mag-engage sila sa amin. Magtulungan na lang imbis na ipa-sara ‘yong mga school,” she said. /kga
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