De Lima wants Senate probe into closure of 55 Lumad schools

Aika Rey
De Lima wants Senate probe into closure of 55 Lumad schools
'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,'says Senator Leila de Lima

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

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.