DEPARTMENT of Education (DepEd) 7 Director Salustiano Jimenez said he did not see any liability on the part of the University of San Carlos (USC) administration over the housing of Lumad children for a learning program initiated by Save Our Schools, a network of child-focused non-governmental organizations.
The DepEd 7 head said his office has no jurisdiction over the retreat house where the 19 minors from the indigenous peoples in Davao del Norte were temporarily staying and where the “rescue” operation by the police and social workers happened on Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. The retreat house is operated by the Societas Verbi Divini priests who also run the USC campuses.
Jimenez said the area where the Lumad minors were housed does not belong to the school’s basic education department.
The operation was conducted by the local police with members of the Cebu City Department of Social Welfare and Services after six Lumad parents had sought their help.
Seven adults, including two indigenous group elders and two teachers, were arrested during the operation.
The Save Our Schools Network Cebu, which is composed of civil and cause-oriented groups, denounced the operation, calling it an “illegal arrest,” not a “rescue” operation.