Duterte clarifies he will destroy Lumad schools, not children
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday clarified that he intends not to harm the children but only the Lumad school structures, which he ordered destroyed, for spreading subversive ideas.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to the wake of six soldiers ambushed by the New People’s Army in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, Duterte said: “Wala akong sinabi na bombahan ko yan na may tao kaya ko sinabi umalis kayo diyan. Ibig sabihin sisirain ko yan (I did not say that I will bomb it with people inside that’s why I said stay away from there. That means I will destroy it) because you are using a school without a license from the Department of Education.”
He said that before putting up a school, its management should need to acquire the necessary license from the government.
“Hindi ko sinabing patayin ko yung mga bata (I did not say that I will kill the children). Far from it, actually. Librehin ko ang bata sa perwisyo ninyo (I will free the children from your harm) because they will learn to be…pareho sa inyo (like you),” Duterte said.
In a press conference after his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, Duterte threatened to “bomb” Lumad schools as it has become a hotbed of communist ideals.
It drew criticisms from different sectors of the Left, with human-rights group Karapatan saying that “bombing their schools and communities is a war crime, one of the gravest violations under international humanitarian law.”
On Monday, about 300 Lumads from different parts of Mindanao joined thousands of Sona protesters to call on the administration to lift martial law in Mindanao.
According to Lumad youth group Liga ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan, 27 of some 200 Lumad schools have been forced to shut down since the implementation of martial law on May 23 because of intense military presence in their communities. JPV
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