AUTHORITIES and a Lumad leader lauded the decision of the Department of Education (DepEd) for the total closure of the Salugpongan Tatanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. (Salugpungan) and its affiliated schools.
Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office chief Captain Jerry Lamosao said in a press briefing Wednesday, October 9, that the efforts of several government agencies and the Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities produced a positive result.
"Kausa namo ang DepEd siyempre sa edukasyon mauna man gyud ang DepEd, so we just provide the necessary information sugod pa kining nabutyag labot sa Salugpungan and with the surrender of Datu Guibang (Apoga) nga mas na-expose karon kung unsa gyud ang tumong niining kuno learning school but became a source of recruitment of cadre (We are one with DepEd as it is the frontrunner in education. We only provided the information about Salugpungan, which was exposed with the surrender of Datu Guibang (Apoga)," Lamosao said.
He also considered this as an achievement especially for members of the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (TF-Elcac), local chief executives and other stakeholders.
Earlier, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the City Government filed a resolution asking DepEd to completely terminate and cancel the permit to operate of all Salugpungan schools in the city.
The resolution states that Salugpungan students do not have academic records and individual learner's reference number.
Lamosao added the learning center is only being used as "fund generator."
He further assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to monitor and protect the IP communities to prevent them from being exploited by the New People's Army.
In July this year, DepEd suspended the school after reviewing the reports from National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and the vice-chair of the National TF-Elcac showing that Salugpungan has been using students in rallies and teaching them ideologies against the government.
Lamosao cited that Executive Order (EO) 70 has been helpful to address the root causes of rebellion. EO 70 institutionalizes the "whole of nation approach" in fighting insurgency in the country which was designed to gather all government agencies to provide intervention to the communities especially those that have insurgency problem.
For his part, Datu Lumansad Sibugan, tribal chieftain of Barangay Sto. Niño, Talaingod, Davao del Norte, said they will no longer allow any non-government organization to penetrate in their community without the necessary permits.
He said they are also delighted with the result of the investigation.
It can be recalled that they initiated the demolition of some Salugpungan schools in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.
They are, however, apprehensive because of the threat to DepEd school teachers in the area but he said they are giving these educators enough protection against threats following the closure of Salugpungan schools.
In Talaingod, seven DepEd were constructed after the shutting down of five Salugpungan schools in their municipality.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte is also pushing for the construction of Deped schools in different sitios to reach out to the communities in remote areas.