Salinlahi, Save Our Schools Network Join Women in Rising Against Tyranny and Fascism

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Department of Education – Main Office, Pasig City │ Salinlahi alliance for Children’s Concerns, together with Save Our schools (SOS) network join women and children in rising against tyranny and fascism during the 2017 commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW).

“Duterte’s militaristic, tyrannical and fascist characteristics are the greatest threats to women and children especially in Lumad communities of Mindanao”, said Rius Valle, SOS Mindanao Spokesperson. Valle also added that the recent threat of crackdown of President Duterte against suspected communist fronts will surely intensify the attacks against schools, “He has been vilifying lumad schools as communist schools, hence, we consider his recent rages as direct threat to Lumad women, children and communities”.

During the same event, Eule Rico Bonganay SOS lead convener and Salinlahi Secretary General stated that Duterte’s war ‘addiction’ has become a bloody war against women, children and national minorities and is no different from previous administrations and in fact worse, “President Duterte is a madman. His open declaration of threats to bomb and destroy lumad schools and the crackdown on legal activists and organizations only formalized what they have already been doing since the beginning, despite the existence of peace talks. The AFP actually is the one not honoring the Duterte government’s words and they are the ones insincere to achieving the path to peace based on justice.”

The groups cited different forms of human rights violations perpetrated by the AFP. “With or without peace talks, the Duterte regime have been compromising the lives and safety of thousands of lumad women and children. Women and children are raped and sexually harassed by elements of the AFP and para-military groups. They are being wooed just for the AFP to be close to them and be able to get some information,” Valle said.

The central call of the event which was led by GABRIELA, Gabriela Women’s Party, Task Force One Billion Rising, New Voice Company and Save Our Schools Network is collective action against different forms of violence under the growing fascism and tyranny of the current US-Duterte regime.

The said event was attended by various personalities like the political activist, director and actress Mae Paner A.K.A Juana Change, theatre actress and singer, Monique Wilson, former beauty queen and known Lumad school supporter, Ms. Maria Isabel Lopez and former Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo. ###

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Lumad children assert right to education through art and play

The LUMAD children bore smiling faces while some yelled happily at the top of their lungs when they successfully jumped over ‘tinik’ (thorns) and made it on the other side unscathed.

The joyous moment was a very rare opportunity especially for lumad children who lived with constant fear and uncertainty. The sounds of gunfire and presence of military elements inside their schools and communities brought everyday risks and threats to their dear lives.

An art and play activity dubbed as Luksong Tinik: Palaro para sa mga batang Lumad was organized by SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns and Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) at the Binhi ng Kalayaan, Luneta park in Manila earlier today in commemoration of November as the National Children’s month.

‘The activity was participated in by almost 50 lumad children who form part of ‘Manilakbayan ng Mindanao 2015’, a 700 strong contingent composed of lumads, peasants, women, children and other sectors who journeyed to Manila to highlight the issue of militarization and plunder of their ancestral land’, said SALINLAHI secretary general Kharlo Manano.

Through modified traditional Filipino and recreational games and visual arts including patintero, luksong tinik, uprooting the carrot, cat and mouse and face-painting, ‘the lumad children emphasized their plight, aspirations and demands, Manano explained.

Adding twist to the games, Manano said that the lumad children need to get the books, food and peace sign at the end of ‘patintero’. The children compared the ‘taya’ or blocker to the soldiers who attack, encamp and harass them, making their access to education more difficult for them’, Manano said.

According to Manano, thousands of lumad children are deprived of education due to the increasing and persisting cases of military attacks on schools in Mindanao. ‘Recently, the barangay captain of White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon assisted by the military forcibly closed down the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) while the teachers and students were harassed.

This piles up to the long list of cases of military attacks even after the killings of Samarca, Campos and Sinzo caught local and international attention,’ Manano stressed.

‘Using strong and vivid colors, lumad children artfully drew and wrote the words ‘Justice’, ‘Peace’, Stop Lumad Killings’ and ‘Save Our Schools’ on their faces as they cried out loud to stop the attacks on their schools, communities and people!’ ended Manano.###

luksong tinik

Remove Rep. Nancy Catamco as IP Committee chair – SOS Network

Save Our Schools network (SOS) joined the protest action led by Sulong Katribu in front of the House of Representatives today. The group called for the removal of North Cotabato 2nd district representative Nancy Catamco from her National Cultural Communities committee chairwomanship in the lower house and to end military attacks on IP schools and communities.

The group lambasted Catamco and called her “anti-indigenous peoples” for her acts of betrayal of lumads who found their sanctuary in the UCCP Haran house in Davao City. Kharlo Manano, secretary-general of Salinlahi and lead convener of the SOS network said “The evacuees in Davao City were further made to suffer in the recent attempts of the police, military and Alamara, upon the command of Nancy Catamco, forcing them to return home. They used brute force in their so-called ‘rescue’ without even addressing the intensifying militarization in their communities, the very reason why the lumads, including more than 500 children, sought refuge in the city.”

Aside from further violations of human rights, the incidence proved how the Aquino government continues to turn a blind eye on the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples. “Even the United Nation Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons (UNSR IDP) Chaloka Beyani raised his concern over the plight of the 700 lumad refugees currently living in Davao City displaced because of the presence of military and paramilitary groups in their communities,” Manano continued.

Beyani, in his statement, also mentioned his concern over the alleged forced recruitment of lumad into para-military group Alamara as well as the reported cases of schools being closed/or occupied by the AFP and Alamara, hampering the access to education of indigenous children.

The network reiterated their call to hold Catamco, the AFP, PNP and BS Aquino accountable for the continuing rights violations of lumads in Mindanao. “We fear that the recent violence in Haran will possibly happen again, especially with Catamco instigating violence inside the sanctuary of the displaced lumads. How many more lumad children should fall victims in the hands of the fascist Aquino regime? We are calling all advocates to unite and echo the call for justice of the peoples of Mindanao, locally and internationally,” Manano ended.

catamco alisin sa pwesto