MANILA, Philippines – Detained Senator Leila de Lima has filed a Senate resolution seeking an inquiry into the temporary closure of 55 schools catering to indigenous peoples communities in Southern Mindanao, collectively known as Lumad.
“There is need to ensure that the Lumad children are not deprived of their right to education because of the ongoing efforts of the government against the New People’s Army,” De Lima said in filing Senate Resolution No. 34 on July 25
“There is need to isolate the culture-appropriate education of the Lumads from the so-called ‘red-tagging’ of the government in order to avoid violating their constitutionally protected rights,” she added.
De Lima said the goal of the inquiy would be to crafting legislation to protect children’s and indigenous peoples’ (IP) rights.
“These places have also become alternatives to mainstream institutions that tend to downgrade IP culture,” De Lima said.
On July 12, the DepEd in Southern Mindanao ordered the closure of the schools, operated and owned by the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers, for allegedly “deviating from the basic curriculum.”
The DepEd order based its order on the report of National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. The Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which Esperon heads, claimed that the schools teach students to rebel against the government.
President Rodrigo Duterte had made the same allegations against Lumad schools. He earlier threatened to “bomb” such schools that are not accredited by the DepEd.
At the House of Representatives, the Makabayan bloc had filed its counterpart resolution calling for a congressional investigation into the shutdown. – Rappler.com
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