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Detained ‘lumad’ teachers worried about Mindanao students

“In Mindanao, people who have been clamoring for help are silenced,” said Kenneth Cadiang, one of the eight youth leaders arrested on Saturday for conducting a lightning rally during a joint session of Congress at the House of Representatives.

Cadiang, a volunteer lumad teacher from Surigao del Sur, recently arrived in Manila with about 160 lumad students, teachers and community leaders to oppose the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

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According to the protesters, martial law has led to the closure of lumad schools which are tagged as being operated by the New People’s Army.

The teachers, on the other hand, are being called enemies of the state, according to Yasser Gutierrez, a teacher from the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development.

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“Ordinary people do not have voices. Yesterday was our hope to be heard,” Cadiang told the Inquirer on Sunday at the Quezon City Police District headquarters in Camp Karingal where he and his companions were being detained.

Cadiang, Gutierrez, their coteacher Chad Booc and youth activists Vinzhill Simon, Renz Pasigpasigan, Almira Abril, John Paul Rosos and Michael Villanueva were arrested after they shouted, “Never again to martial law” as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was answering questions from lawmakers.

The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has recommended the filing against the eight of charges of disturbance of proceedings or violation of Article 144 of the Revised Penal Code.

The teachers said the experience was “tormenting.” They worry about what their students would think when they find out they had been arrested.

“I don’t know how we’re going back to Mindanao. Is there still security for the lumad?” Gutierrez asked.

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TAGS: Chad Booc, Kabataan 8, Kenneth Cadiang, lumad students, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law, Yasser Gutierrez
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