QUEZON CITY- Before heading back to Mindanao, Lumad community leaders, students and teachers from Manilakbayan 2015 together with the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network filed an administrative complaint against Department of Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro at the Office of the Ombudsman, Quezon City today.
Rius Valle, spokesperson of Save Our Schools (SOS) Network Mindanao, said that Secretary Luistro have violated several laws to protect children through the issuance and continued implementation of DepEd Memorandum 221.
Based on the complaint Luistro “may be served with summons and court processes, of violation of Article X, Section 22 of R.A. No. 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) and Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) as well as Article 13, numbers 1 and 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 28, number 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”.
Further the complaint also includes the filing of administrative complaint against Bro. Luistro for “Gross Misconduct, Grave Abuse of Authority, Gross Oppression and for Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Officer”.
The complaint was lodged by representatives of different Lumad schools and organizations in Mindanao after a three-day camp-out of 200 Lumad and other support groups in front of the Department of Education National Office in Pasig City from November 9 to 11.
“For about six (6) years under the BS Aquino administration, the network gathered around 400 documented and reported cases of attacks on both Lumad and government-run schools in Mindanao. Military aggression in schools, in the form of military encampment, threat, harassment and intimidation, vilification among teachers and students, and incidents of destruction of school property, had intensified and rose in number after the issuance and implementation of Department of Education Memorandum 221” said Valle.
Implemented last 2013, the DepEd Memo 221 or “Guidelines on the Protection of Children during Armed Conflict” allows the military to conduct activities in schools and legitimizes military presence in schools according to SOS Network.
“We gave him two years to revoke the memo. We lobbied and held dialogues with his department multiple times before we gave him a three-day ultimatum. This administrative case is long overdue, we demand full accountability of Sec. Luistro for his transgressions and neglect thereof,” said Valle.
Valle added that Luistro didn’t just ignore the calls of Lumad children to revoke DepEd Memo 221 and to stop military attacks on schools, he became instrumental in the perpetration of military attacks on schools all over Mindanao.
“We have already lost a teacher and many Lumad leaders, we will not wait until we lose another one. We resolve to continue defending Lumad schools and dedicate our efforts to ensure that Aquino and Luistro be held accountable for these attacks against our schools and our people” Valle concluded.##