Five makeshift schools in Paquibato, Davao City and Bukidnon are now undergoing construction with the help of local government units and private sectors.
A military officer said they are crucial in protecting the children from being indoctrinated into the New People’s Army.
Speaking on Wednesday’s AFP-PNP press conference, Lt. Col. Silas Trasmontero, the commander of the 89th Infantry Battalion, said building schools and developing the countryside are part and parcel of Executive Order 70 or the Whole-of-Nation approach in dealing with the communist insurgency.
“The LGUs, with the military, are very aggressive in really putting up schools in far-flung areas, so that the NPA group will not have access and can’t conduct recruitment in schools,” Trasmontero said, adding that those recruited to be guerrillas are teens in the 15 to 16 age group.
“We are happy because of the Peace 911 and the local government of Sto. Tomas. They are very supportive of our interventions to really address issues like the Misfi, allegedly an NPA-operated school,” he added.
The 89th IB has five schools in its areas of jurisdiction. The schools will address the lack of education of the children in the underserved communities, and provide them with a better opportunity.
One school is being built in Paquibato and four in Bukidnon. The Department of Education is also overseeing their construction. He said that these areas used to be served by Misfi, which have been closed down.
“In Paquibato, children walk four hours just to go to school. So, right now we are bringing the school to their community,” he said.
Hopefully, the construction of the schools will be completed in December. The DepEd also opened new items for teachers who will be assigned to the areas.
Meanwhile, the residents in the communities will also have a chance to attend livelihood training workshops by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Labor and Employment.
In the 89th IB area, he said there are more or less nine batches of participants who learn how to bake bread and pastry, as well as basic cooking. They can also learn carpentry, organic farming, hog-raising, welding, electrician courses, and operation of heavy equipment.
“Our effort is geared toward capacitating the communities so that we can address the issue of exploitation,” he said.
The 89th IB covers the areas of Tapak and Colosas in Paquibato District; Carmen, Braulio E. Dujali, and Sto. Tomas, in Davao del Norte; four barangays in San Fernando, and three barangays in Kitatao, Bukidnon.