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Councilor requests colleagues to rally behind Lumad schools

A councilor  appealed to her colleagues to investigate the accusation leveled against the Salugpongan Community Learning Center as a recruiting ground for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

Councilor Pamela Librado said the schools under Salugpongan Community Learning Center and Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI) that were ordered to be temporarily closed by DepEd Region 11 are located in:

• Sitio Gatongon in Tapak, Paquibato District
• Sitio Alon in Malabog, Paquibato District
• Sitio Kapatagan in Malamba, Marilog District
• Sitio Taga Ibo in Malamba, Marilog District
• Sitio Kabalantian in Gumitan, Marilog District
• Sitio Licuyan in Tambobong in Baguio District
• Sitio Indawbong in Salaysay, Marilog District

“I rise because this body needs to address this issue. Some of the Lumad students have been
displaced and are staying here in a sanctuary in this city,” Librado said in her speech. “Most of them due to this temporary closure order, have been long displaced from their communities in Talaingod and Kapalong due to militarization in their community.”

Librado said Salugpongan has requested a dialogue with Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte in a letter officially received by the Sangguniang Panlungsod last September 4, 2019.

“I rise to appeal to my colleagues that we need to verify this accusation and see how as a collective body we can address the need to protect the rights of the Lumad children to education and to protect them from these issues,” she said.

She said the schools were closed without due process and only on the prodding of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, which identified the schools were exploiting the kids in protest rallies and also teaching them to hate the government.

“The host communities were witnesses to the gradual development of the schools from being literacy-numeracy programs into formal institutions,” she said.

Librado also questioned how the DepEd has come up with a suspension order if they had recognized these schools in the past.

“We also further question the process of their suspension, as they had done this without undergoing due process to investigate first the schools to verify the claims of a report. I have heard statements from school officials that they had received the information first from the media, before they received the suspension order,” Librado said.

Librado also called the other councilors to make room for dialogue and listen to the sentiments of the Lumad communities. “For the rights of our indigenous peoples are the same human rights accorded to each one of us,” she said.

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