The Save our Schools (SOS) network held a protest action outside the gates of the Department of Education today, asking DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones to immediately act on recent attacks on lumad schools under the administration of Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services, Inc. (CLANS) in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat.
‘Threats, harassments and intimidations by Mayor Abubacar Bakre Maulana sowed terror among students and teachers of 18 community schools in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat. We are very much angered by these actions that the local government took, in collaboration with the military and local offices of government agencies including DepEd,’ SOS spokesperson Reina Requioma narrated.
Reports from CLANS mentioned the intention of the military, LGU and different government agencies involved to vilify the school and its teachers by distributing flyers and hanging tarpaulins which label CLANS as front of the New People’s Army. The said tarpaulins bore the logos of the Palimbang municipal government, the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples, the DILG, the DepEd, the Philippine Marines, and the PNP.
She added that these are clear violations of the right of children to education and it is even painstaking to witness the utter disregard of the hard work of non-government organizations like CLANS.
‘Mayor Maulana ordered the closure of CLANS schools and threatened the teachers to stop their work in educating the lumad children, which for us is a very clear order to those providing services for children of national minorities to stop their noble cause!’ Requioma continued.
The network called on Sec. Briones to immediately put an end to these attacks. Requioma challenged the secretary, ‘We are dismayed over the DepEd’s inaction. If Sec. Briones is really an advocate of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) like she mentioned in her July 2016 turn-over message at the DepEd, she should prove it through reprimanding Mayor Maulana, her subordinates in the DepEd office in Palimbang, as well as other agencies to stop attacking lumad alternative schools,’”
SOS network is set to continue the campaign against the on-going attacks on CLANS schools and communities of lumad in Sultan Kudarat, and other similar cases all over Mindanao. ‘We are calling on advocates to continue demanding immediate resolution to these attacks and that can only be achieved when military troops pull out from communities and the likes of Mayor Maulana and government agencies involved be held accountable,’ ended Requioma. ###