Military won't bomb Lumad schools – AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces will not take as policy President Rodrigo Duterte's threat to bomb Lumad schools without Department of Education accreditation.

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the President's threat was merely a strong style of messaging to emphasize his disdain for schools that "brainwash" children into hating government.

"The bombing remark, it's just a style of communicating a tough stance and so many people will understand. But to actually do it (bomb), that won't happen,"  Padilla said in a mix of English and Filipino on Friday, July 28.

"He (Duterte) won't really do that," he said in a Palace news briefing, adding that the President may be tough on the outside but is the "most compassionate" when it comes to children.

Duterte had threatened to bomb lumad schools teaching "subversion" and "communism" during a press conference after his State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 24.

He said he would tell the students and teachers to leave the schools before bombing them.

"Bobombahan ko ‘yan. Isali ko ‘yang mga istraktura ninyo. I will use the Armed Forces, the Philippine Air Force. Talagang bobombahan ko ‘yung mga…lahat ng ano ninyo. (I will bomb them. I'll include your structures. I will use the Armed Forces, the Philippine Air Force. I'll really bomb all your structures). Because you are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to rebel against government," Duterte had said.

Palace clarification

Malacañang clarified the President's remarks 4 days later.

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said on Friday that Duterte was only threatening the lumad schools "which don't have permits from the Department of Education...and refuse to comply with DepEd requirements on curriculum."

Duterte also "does not intend to bomb lumad children," only structures," Banaag added.

Sharing findings from DepEd, Banaag said there are 3 main groups of left-oriented lumad schools which have still not complied with DepEd regulation.

These are the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Incorpoated (ALCADEV); the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services, Incorporated or the Clans; and the Salugpungan Community Learning Center. 

There are left-leaning Lumad schools and lumad schools put up by religious or sociocivic organizations which are complying with DepEd requirements.

 The Department of Social Welfare and Development has also established 3 indigenous peoples schools. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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