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ACT Teachers Party-List Antonio Tinio and France Castro on the President’s Threats to Bomb lumad schools

24 July 2017 No Comment
The President in his post-SONA press conference said, “yung mga eskwelahan lang ng mga Lumad, they are operating without the Department of Education’s permit kasi sa eskwelahan nila they are teaching subversion, communism, lahat na. So umalis kayo dyan, bobombahan ko yan. Isali ko yang mga istruktura ninyo. I will use the Armed Forces, the Philippine Air Force.”
This statement amounts to an order to continue the military’s branding of innocents and the institutions nurturing them as rebels.  It is an order for the AFP to target civilians as rebels, and to intensify the militarization of their communities, the threats, intimidation, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and charging of trumped-up cases against students, teachers and tribal leaders, and the encampment and destruction by the military of schools.  It is more ominous since it comes from the commander-in-chief of the AFP and Lumad communities are now under fire with martial law.
We condemn this as a clear red-tagging on a large scale and endorsement of violence and murder against indigenous peoples. The President accused Lumad schools of training children to be rebels, when some of them have long been operating with DepEd recognition.  The applications of many are being denied as part of the systematic attack against indigenous peoples which the President is now openly advocating.
Schools of indigenous peoples and community learning centers such as those for the Lumad in Mindanao are established and maintained by people’s organizations and members of the local communities themselves due to the absence of public schools offering free education in their areas.  They are also part of indigenous peoples’ assertion of their right to self-determination.  President Duterte should encourage and protect them instead of targeting them as “enemies of the state.”
We demand that the President retract his statement.  We demand justice for all victims of militarization of communities, including the thousands of bakwits due to martial law.  We demand that he order the military to pull out of civilian communities and end all forms of attacks against Lumad schools and people’s organizations.  We demand an immediate end to martial law.