Students and teachers from Lumad community schools in Mindanao together with different organizations under the banner of Save Our Schools Network expressed disappointment over the failure of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Bro. Armin Luisto to appear in the dialogue earlier today. “For the fourth time, Sec. Luistro showed his cold-heartedness over the plight of lumad students and teachers whose rights were violated due to military operations. Lumad students and teachers from Mindanao have determinedly travelled to Manila to voice out the cases of military encampment and attacks on their schools including the harassment of students and teachers. However, DepEd, again, remain futile in giving concrete resolutions,” said SOS Network Spokesperson Madella Santiago.
The group also slammed the DepEd over the issuance of Memorandum 221, series of 2013 that further allows the use of schools for military purposes. In response, DepEd Assistant Secretary Umali, who appeared in the dialogue, promised to review the said memorandum.
“We are not satisfied with the result of the dialogue, what Sec. Luistro’s subordinates have promised are the things we have already heard in our previous engagements with them. It is Luistro’s executive power as department secretary to revoke DepEd memo 221 that we seek, not empty promises,” Santiago lamented.
Still, the group said that they will closely monitor whether DepEd will hold its commitment to review said memorandum. “If Sec. Luistro, truly upholds the right of children to education, he should give lumad children a chance to continue their education in peace, without fear caused by military presence inside their schools” ended Santiago.###