Please join us in
condemning the ongoing repression and harassment of teachers and developers of
indigenous learning systems in indigenous peoples’ community schools. CLANS
Lumad School Diya Menuwa, a community school in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat, has
been targeted by municipal officers and local government agencies. Tarpaulins
and flyers were distributed with messages maligning the school and its
teachers, with blatant threats of arrest directed at the school’s educators.
CLANS has provided education to Lumad children deprived of this basic right. Instead of persecution, initiatives to build
schools within indigenous communities should be treated as a welcome effort.
ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT
CLANS Lumad School Diya Menuwa is a community school which caters to
around 1,000 Dulang Manobo children in 18 school sites in Palimbang, Sultan
Kudarat. The school was established this year and is run by the the Center for
Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS).
On October 11, 2016, at around 11am, two armed men arrived in Sitio
Buna, Brgy. Kipunget, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat to put up tarpaulins bearing
the following message (as translated): ‘A
small group known as CLANS is the first wave of deception in Palimbang. CLANS,
along with schools operating under it in different areas in Palimbang, have no
permit from the government. This school is not recognized by the Department of
Education; it is fake and illigetimate. Everyone is encouraged to be vigilant
against the school’s activities. Let us stand as one Philippine nation, let us
not be deceived by the communist ideology.’ The said tarpaulin bears the
logo of the municipality of Palimbang, the National Commission on Indigenous
Peoples (NCIP), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the
Department of Education (DepEd), the Philippine Marine Corps, and the
Philippine National Police (PNP). The armed men who put up the posters came
back an hour later and took pictures of the school’s premises.
On October 12, 2016, a caravan of municipal officers was held in
different sitios in Palimbang, including Sitio Sindiolo in Brgy. Kisek, Sitio
Kalupaan in Brgy. Ligao, Sitio Lipaga in Brgy. Medol, Sitio Site in Brgy.
Wasag, and Sitios Kidupong and Badak in Brgy. Dumulol. Flyers with the same
message were distributed in the said areas and a tarpaulin was put up in Brgy.
On October 13, 2016,
around 7am, Daniel Asido, Brgy. Captain of Brgy. Dumulol, called for a leaders’
meeting supposedly for a project of KALAHI CIDDS. However, the agenda was far
different from what the attendees expected. Before the meeting started, 20
elements of the 6th Marine Battalion Landing Team in full-battle
gear arrived at the venue, followed by 10 policemen who are also armed. In the
meeting, Sultan Kudarat Mayor Abubacar Maulana, told the attendees not to take
part of the CLANS projects and programs because “it is part of New People’s
Army’s (NPA) maneuvers to spread the communist ideology.”
Other local officials
who attended the meeting included the DSWD Municipal Link, the DepEd District
Supervisor, a representative from the DILG, Palimbang IP Mandatory
Representative, Brgy. Captain of Brgy Mina, Palimbang Municipal Administrator, and the
Principal of Mababang Paaralan ng Dumulol.
During the meeting,
the DepEd supervisor complained that students from DepEd schools are losing
students because of CLANS. This was explained when Judith Dakias, a student
from Dumulol who transferred to CLANS, attested that going to his previous
school required an hour of walking, along with the danger of crossing the
highway. Dakias recently lost her brother to an accident on their way to school.
She also added that it is expensive in Dumulol whereas attending CLANS is more
practical. Despite this, however, officials kept urging leaders to encourage
their constituents to pull-out students from CLANS.
The meeting concluded
with an announcement from the municipal administrator of Palimbang, also the
sister of the Mayor, that they would be giving a reward of PhP5,000 in exchange
for the pictures of teachers and staff of CLANS. The administrator added that
teachers will only be given three warnings to stop teaching; the fourth warning
will lead to their arrest.
Due to these threats, CLANS Lumad School Diya Menuwa was forced to closed down for several
days. Currently, there is no definite date for the resumption of classes. A resolution
has already been filed at the House of Representatives by progressive lawmakers
led by Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist representatives Antonio Tinio to
investigate the incident.
The Government of the
Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has
recently finished the second round of the formal peace talks on October 9, 2016
under the Duterte administration. The first round of talks, from August 22-26,
2016, reaffirmed previously signed agreements such as the Comprehensive
Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
(CARHRIHL), among other commitments. Unilateral ceasefire declarations were
also announced separately by both parties.
In the second round of talks, the draft common outline of the
Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) was initialed by
the Reciprocal Working Committees of the GRP and NDFP on social and economic
Such agreements should
work to prevent the red-tagging and attack of schools, its teachers and
developers. The CASER, although still in the pipeline, should include
protection of the right to education; the CARHRIHL, as a joint agreement,
mandates the non-inclusion and safety of non-combatants, particularly
prohibiting the use of schools and the attack against students and teachers. The
GRP unilateral ceasefire declaration has been increasingly criticized as “empty
and defective,” with the continuing combat military operations under Oplan
Bayanihan, also in the guise of civil military operations, in civilian
communities, resulting to political killlings, illegal arrests, threats and
harassment. Under BS Aquino and its implementation of counter-insurgency
programs, there were almost 80,000 victims of military encampment of schools,
medical, religious and other public places.
red-tagging of schools is a blatant violation not only of the GRP’s own
ceasefire declaration, of the CARHRIHL, and of the right to education, it also
ultimately casts doubts on the GRP’s capacity to fully implement agreements
that it is party to.
Send letters, emails or fax messages
independent investigation of the incidents which led to the closing of CLANS
An end to
the repression and harassment of teachers and developers of indigenous learning systems in
indigenous peoples’ community schools;
accountability of Sultan Kudarat Mayor Abubacar Malauna and the local offices
of the NCIP, DepEd, DSWD, DILG, PNP Palimbang and the 6th Marine
Government to adhere to laws which encourage non-formal, informal, and
indigenous learning systems;
Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan
Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians, and stop the
attacks against schools and other learning institutions;
Philippine Government to pursue its commitment to the Comprehensive
Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law
(CARHRIHL) and the inclusion of the
protection of the right to education in the Comprehensive Agreement on Social
and Economic Reforms (CASER); and
7. The Philippine Government to adhere and respect the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all major Human Rights instruments
that is a party and signatory.
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