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Investigate harassment, red-tagging against Sultan Kudarat Lumad school -Makabayan

14 November 2016 No Comment
PRESS RELEASE
14 November 2016 References: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
The Representatives of the Makabayan bloc are calling for a congressional inquiry into the harassment and intimidation of students and teachers of a community school for Dulangan Manobos in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat and the leaders of their indigenous community.
Citing a report of the Save Our Schools Network (SOS), the House Resolution states that officials from DepEd, DSWD, and DILG, the local government including Palimbang Mayor Abubacar “Bakre” Maulana, and combined elements of the PNP and the Philippine Marines have been harassing the teachers of the CLANS Lumad School Diya Menuwa and telling the residents that it and the other schools run by the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) are fronts for the New People’s Army (NPA).
SOS is a group child-focused organizations, church-based groups and other stakeholders advocating for children’s right to education of which ACT Teachers Party-List and Gabriela Women’s Party are members. CLANS is a SEC-registered organization having a 10-year track record of serving IP communities in the Central Mindanao and Davao regions. It is currently managing 50 non-formal community-based IP schools under the DepEd Alternative Learning System aside from one formal school.
Per the SOS, the harassment began on October 11 when armed and plainclothes-wearing police hung tarpaulins labelling CLANS as “the entry point of deception of the New Peoples’ Army” or a front of the NPA and saying that CLANS and the schools they manage are “fake and illegitimate.” The police also entered the school and started taking pictures of it.
The following day, the officials of Barangay Kipunget gathered the residents at a meeting where the vilification was repeated. Municipal officials also held a “caravan” covering Kipunget and several other sitios and barangays where they distributed flyers with the same contents as the tarp. They then told the residents that there will be a P5,000 reward for those who can take pictures of the CLANS teachers or point out who the NPAs are. They also announced that teachers who will refuse to stop teaching at the school will only be given three warnings, or else be arrested.
Due to the threats, harassment, and vilification, Diya Menuwa, which operates in 18 school sites in Palimbang, was forced to close for several days. Classes in four sites have yet to resume as of this writing. Diya Menuwa is home to 1,003 adult and child literacy and numeracy learners and 29 volunteer teachers.
The Resolution urges an immediate congressional investigation into these reports, and calls all concerned agencies to look into the allegations of the victims and to immediately put an end to all forms of attacks on Lumad schools and people’s organizations.
“In areas like Palimbang where the nearest public school is at least an hour away, these schools are the only places where our Lumad sisters and brothers go for education. Schools such as these are also strong testaments to the struggle of indigenous communities for self-determination,” said ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro. “We therefore cannot let this repression of educators and developers of IP communities continue. We will not allow this to go unnoticed, or allow those responsible to commit these human rights violations with impunity.” ###

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