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Solons condemn harassment and red tagging of Sultan Kudarat Lumad school

5 November 2016 No Comment
NEWS RELEASE
5 November 2016 Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio L. Tinio and France L. Castro condemn the harassment and intimidation of students and teachers of a community school for Manobos in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat since October 11, 2016 by representatives of DepEd, DSWD, and DILG, the local government including Mayor Abubacar “Bakre” Maulana, and combined elements of the PNP and the Philippine Marines.
According to a report of the Save Our Schools Network, the CLANS Lumad School Diya Menuwa, a community school run by the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) and serving 1,003 Manobo students, is being tagged by the perpetrators as a school for the New People’s Army (NPA) and not recognized by the government.
Per the report and statements that CLANS gathered, on October 11, 2016, armed and plainclothes-wearing police hung tarpaulins labelling CLANS as a front for the NPA. The tarp bore the logos of the municipal government of Palimbang, the National Commission of Indigenous People, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Education, Philippine Marine Corps, and Philippine National Police. The police also entered the school and took pictures of it as well as the volunteer teachers.
The following day, officials of Barangay Kipunget gathered the residents to 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 of the tarp and told residents that there will be a P5,000 reward for those who can take pictures of the CLANS teachers or point who the NPA are. Teachers who refuse to stop teaching at the school will only be given three warnings, or else be arrested.
“We strongly condemn this ongoing repression of educators and developers of IP communities in the region,” said Tinio. “This goes against the constitutional mandate to ‘encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning independent, and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to community needs’.”
“We challenge all 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,” he continued, adding that they will launch a congressional inquiry into this matter.
Castro added that government officials, police, and military are duty-bound to immediately stop the threats, harassment, and vilification in light of the ongoing peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
“Both sides are currently taking up the meat of the peace process—the socio-economic reforms, in which education is recognized as a centerpiece human right, especially of the youth. The Lumad peoples’ rights to life and self-determination and Lumad children’s right to education should therefore be accorded the utmost protection especially at this time.”
“We thus urge President Duterte to investigate and hold accountable the local government officials, PNP and AFP elements who aim to spoil the peace talks,” Castro ended. ###

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