Romero wants new pact to bar PNP, AFP personnel from barging into IP schools
MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero is proposing that the National Commission of the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of National Defense (DND) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) enter into a similar agreement as the UP-DND accord to prohibit military and police personnel from entering indigenous peoples’ schools without prior notice.
Romero made the call during Wednesday’s meeting of the House committee on human rights on the raid and mass arrest against lumad evacuees seeking sanctuary in Cebu.
“As precedent of the 1989 University of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense Accord, I propose before I end this opening statement that a similar accord be entered into by the NCIP or the National Commission of the Indigenous Peoples and the Philippine National Police and the Department of National Defense to ensure that no indigenous peoples learning institution will suffer this same event as what happened during the February 15, 2021,” Romero said.
Asked if his proposal means prohibiting military and police personnel in indigenous peoples schools, which is essentially the intent of the UP-DND Accord, Romero told INQUIRER.net in a text message: “Exactly. This is to save children and right to be educated.”
Under Romero’s proposal, no member of the PNP or Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is allowed to enter the premises of the indigenous learning institution, except in cases of emergency.
The PNP and AFP have to secure prior notification should they have operations within the premises of the indigenous learning institution, Romero said.
“If the authorities of the indigenous learning institution request for assistance of PNP or AFP, the personnel should be uniformed unless requested otherwise,” Romero said.
“In case of service of arrest and search warrants, the authorities of the indigenous learning institution should be notified and at least two faculty members should be present,” he added.
Back in February this year, at least 19 lumad students, who were seeking refuge at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, were taken into custody by the police—an operation that authorities described as a “rescue operation.”
However, Rights group Karapatan said the term “rescue operation” negates what a cellphone video footage has shown, asserting the procedure used by the Philippine National Police-Region 7 (PNP-Region 7) “involved force and coercion.”
The police have maintained the operation was launched only after parents of six lumad students called for help.
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