A SURIGAO-based Lumad school issued a statement Saturday, July 29, denying President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that they teach students how to hate the government.
The Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development Inc. (Alcadev), in a statement posted in its Facebook page, called Duterte’s claims that Lumad schools teach "subversion and communism" as "lies".
"The curriculum we have adopted is based on the needs of our Lumad communities and how to best respond to these needs. What we aim to produce are well-rounded students that give back and serve their community and the country. Our schools don't need to teach the students how to hate the government," the statement said.
The school said the attacks allegedly perpetrated by the military are the ones teaching the children to stand firm and to fight back.
The statement added that Lumad schools like Alcadev, are trying to give children the knowledge to develop critical minds and enable them to contribute to society.
"We teach math to help them with their agricultural work, science that responsibly utilizes the wonders of nature, and history with a progressive perspective, amongst other things," Alcadev said.
"So when these children graduate from our schools, their mindset is always to give back to the country, to contribute to the good of the state; even when always, always, the government has forsaken and trampled upon their rights. We urge you, Mr. President, to reevaluate your current stand and withdraw your statement about bombing our schools. We ask you to keep your men in check and stop the militarization of Lumad schools," it added.
Duterte, meanwhile, retracted his statement, saying that he has no plans of bombing Lumad children.
“I did not say that I’ll bomb that while there are people inside. That’s why I said ‘Leave, I will destroy that because you are using school without a license from the Department of Education,’ Here in the Philippines, there’s a law. Before you open a school, you have to have a necessary clearances and everything from government,” Duterte said.
The President added that he didn’t say he’ll the children rather, will free the children from perdition.
Malacañang on Friday, July 28, had identified three Lumad schools suspected to be teaching subversive lessons, namely: the Alcadev, the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services Inc., and the Salugpungan Community Learning Center.
Malacañang also said these schools are operating without permits.
But in another post, Alcadev showed certificates from Department of Education (DepEd), Securities and Exchange Commission, and permits from the offices of the town mayor, governor, including a barangay permit, and the Bureau Internal Revenue.
"In principle, alternative learning system is one of the forms of education other than formal education recognized and promoted by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Stated in Article XIV, Section 2, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution, the state shall “encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning, independent, and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to the community needs” (1987 Philippine Constitution)," the statement said.
According to its website, Alcadev is an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth – the Manobo, Banwaon, Higanon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa of Surigao del Norte and Sur and Agusan Norte and Sur.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 31, 2017.