THE Department of Education (DepEd) in Davao Region directed on Tuesday administrators of lumad schools Salugpongan Ta 'Tanu Igkanogon and Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) that they can now secure their respective permit to operate from the agency.

DepEd spokesperson Jenilito Atillo said DepEd-Davao director, lawyer Alberto Escobarte, already directed these lumad schools to get their respective permits at the DepEd's school division offices in Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Davao City.

But Salugpongan and Misfi administrative staff, along with civil society groups, complained about DepEd's alleged refusal to hand over the permit on Monday amid mass protests staged by lumads, called "kampuhan," in front of DepEd's regional office for about a week now.

"We thought we will receive it today, since they were all talking about it [the permit] being readied. However, we were surprised to be informed that a transmittal was issued and signed by DepEd Director Atty. Alberto Escobarte just today. It was only presented to us and we're not even allowed to hold it," Ronie Garcia, principal of the Salugpongan, said Tuesday.

Atillo said under DepEd procedure, permits to operate are transmitted to the DepEd division offices where concerned schools are supposed to be operating.

"The division office is the immediate DepEd office na partner nila. Wala na may angayang kabalak-an pa sila kay naa na man ang permit, DepEd na mismo ang nagsulti nga makaoperate na sila. I-release man gyud na sa ilaha kay ila man na. All they have to do now is to visit the division office," Atillo said.