LOCAL security forces came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte who threatened to bomb Lumad schools allegedly associated with communist rebels, saying that it was taken out of context.
Police Regional Office (PRO)-Davao regional director Police Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan said on Wednesday's AFP-PNP media forum that Lumad schools like Salugpongan Community Learning Center are used by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as "indoctrination schools" to lecture the students about their ideology.
"Yong sinabi ng ating pangulo na bobombahin (What the president said about bombing), it's just a figure of speech. Maybe buwagin (break apart) in a legal manner because actually, they don’t have any permits at ang tinuturo doon hindi naman (what is being taught there is not) in accordance with the DepEd policies," Gaerlan said, adding that the schools must be regulated by the Department of Education (DepEd).
The teachers of Lumad schools, instead of teaching the children on respecting the authorities, they instill a different ideology of resisting government forces.
"Ang itinuturo ay anti-government, anti-authorities na hindi naman dapat (They are teaching students to be anti-government, anti-authorities, which they shouldn’t)," he said.
Duterte, in a press conference after his State of the Nation Address (Sona), issued the warning to Lumad schools whom he accused of nurturing insurgents.
"Iyong mga Lumads, they are operating without the DepEd's permit. Kasi eskwelahan sila, but they are teaching subversion, communism," Duterte said in a press conference after his Sona.
“Umalis kayo dyan, sabihin ko sa mga Lumad. Bobombahan ko iyan, isali ko iyang mga istraktura (I’ll tell the Lumads to get out of there. I will bomb the schools). I will use the Philippine Air Force. You are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to rebel against government,” he added.
Eastern Mindanao Command deputy commander and martial law spokesperson Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay claimed that these Lumad schools have become a hub for recruitment of communists groups.
"Salugpongan School is usually located in IP communities and it goes to show that how these groups, the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army), are exploiting yong mga IPs natin (our indigenous peoples) to these fronts na hindi naman sanction ng DepEd (that is not the sanction of DepEd)," he said.
"In the process, it becomes a recruitment ground for child soldiers, exploitation of the youth to minors and IP," he added.
He called on the attention of the Department of Social and Welfare Development, DepEd, and the local government units to look after it.