Lawmakers to DepEd: Probe shutdown of 55 Lumad schools

MAKABAYAN lawmakers dared the Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones to revoke and investigate the suspension imposed on 55 indigenous schools in Davao Region.

The schools, which are under the Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. (Salugpungan), were barred from operating for allegedly teaching students ideologies that are against the Duterte administration.

The DepEd ordered the suspension of the schools' permit to operate following recommendation from former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. The directive was issued Wednesday, July 10.

But Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate dared Briones on Tuesday, July 16, to lift the ban and conduct an investigation.

He said the affidavit used in imposing the suspension order is similar to the "made-up" kidnapping and human trafficking case filed against Makabayan chair Satur Ocampo and France Castro.

"We learned that yung affidavit na ginamit pang suspend is the same affidavit na ginamit sa pagsampa ng gawa-gawang kaso ng kidnapping, human trafficking kay Makabayan chair Satur Ocampo at France Castro," he said in a press conference at the House of Representatives Tuesday.

(We learned that the affidavit used to suspend the schools' operation was similar to the one used to charge for kidnapping and human trafficking Makabayan chair Satur Ocaspo and France Castro.)

Bayan Muna Representative Eufenia Cullamat also condemned Briones's action, saying the DepEd just trashed their years of work in establishing the schools.

"Madalas na po ang pakikibaka namin ng maitayo lang ang mga paaralang ito para lang makapag-aral ang aming mga lumad. Galit kami sa biglaan pagpapasara ng paaralan. Dahil yang 1,000 ay saan yun dadalhin. Sana nga si Briones tumindig sya bilang sya yung [puno] ng edukasyon," Cullamat said.

(We have been fighting for these schools to be built so the Lumads can study. We condemn the sudden closure of the schools, because where will the 1,000 students go? I hope Briones would stand up as head of the education department.)

"Walang panindigan si Briones na tungkulin nya ang magbigay ng edukasyon na walang pinipili," she added.

(Briones has lost her integrity. She's supposed to provide education without bias.)

The lawmakers have filed House Resolution 58, calling for a joint probe in aid of legislation on the order to shut down the Lumad schools. (Ryniel Berlanga/SunStar Philippines)


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