The Department of Education (DepEd) immediately slammed reports claiming that they have ordered the closure of a certain lumad school in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
According to the said reports, authorities were requesting DepEd the closure of all Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanon Community Learning Center Inc. in Mindanao following the claims of it being the “breeding ground” of the New People’s Army.
In a statement, DepEd said the closure of the school was a community decision supported by a resolution issued by an indigenous peoples’ community council. It also added that the learning center is among the three private learning institutions granted a permit in 2014 to operate in the Davao region.
Former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and ACT party-list Rep. France Castro led a fact-finding team last week to look into the reported harassment of teachers and students in the school by an alleged paramilitary group. They were charged with kidnapping and child trafficking for allegedly transporting 15 minor students supposedly without the consent of their parents.
Ocampo and Castro, who were detained with 16 others, claimed they rescued the children from groups that shut down the school. They were freed after posting bail of P80,000 each.
However, in a media briefing, Datu Joel Unad, chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development, presented a resolution that requests the closure of at least 73 Lumad Schools in the region. Also, the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Council of Elders also prohibits the illegal entrance of rebels and armies in their territory.
The group warned the government that if the problem will not be solved within a year, they will declared a “tribal war” against the NPA.