Subanen kids get own school | Inquirer News

Subanen kids get own school

05:16 AM June 06, 2018

LEARNING AREA Subanen parents accompany their children during the first day of classes at Sitio Slide in Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte. The makeshift community hall serves as a temporary learning area while villagers await construction of classrooms. —RICHEL UMEL

KAPATAGAN, Lanao del Norte — Children of Subanen families at Sitio Slide here on Monday were relieved that they did not wake up early to start a two-hour hike so they could attend classes at the center of Barangay Kidalos.

Ciriaco Guminlin, 48, the community’s “gukom,” or chieftain, was emotional and happy for the local “lumad” (indigenous peoples) families. It was the day the Department of Education (DepEd) opened the school in their subvillage, where some 100 Subanen families dependent on farming lived.


Roy Angelo Gazo, Lanao del Norte schools division superintendent, said at least 80 Subanen children would be attending classes in their own community after Sitio Slide Primary School was opened. Two teachers are assigned in the school that accommodates Kindergarten to Grade 3 pupils.


The children also received additional surprises on their first day of classes: free schoolbags and school supplies.

While a building to house the new primary school has yet to be constructed, DepEd officials have promised villagers that the agency will eventually put up classrooms there.

In the meantime, lumad children will attend classes at the sitio’s community hall.

Guminlin said this arrangement was good, noting that what was important was a school had been established in the community.

“Our children no longer have to go to Kidalos to pursue their education,” he said. “I am really thankful to the DepEd for this. For so many years, we have dreamed of a school we can call our own.”

Sitio Slide has no paved roads. Its residents normally use horses to reach the village center to bring their products or buy household supplies.


Guminlin said their children faced all types of risks as they hike every day to and from school.

“It is doubly dangerous for them during storms because of [threats of flash floods] when they cross rivers. We always worry about their safety,” Guminlin said.

Long trek

He said parents, during bad weather, would make the long trek to the village center to fetch their children and ensure that they would get home safely.

“Now, we are overjoyed because of the school’s opening [in our community],” Guminlin added.

Gazo said the school at Sitio Slide was among 35 schools in remote communities that were recently opened in the province. Local governments shoulder the salaries of teachers assigned in these schools.

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He said opening new schools in remote areas followed the DepEd’s “education for all” vision. “No child should be left behind,” he said. —Richel V. Umel


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