Closure order vs Lumad schools hit
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - July 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Rights advocates stormed the Department of Education (DepEd) central office in Pasig City on Wednesday to denounce the closure order against 55 schools catering to indigenous peoples groups in Mindanao.

Members of the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network condemned Education Secretary Leonor Briones for supporting the recommendation of National Security Adviser (NSA) Hermogenes Esperon to close down Salugpongan schools that serve members of the Manobo tribe in Southern Mindanao.

“Once again Secretary Briones exposed herself as a violator of Lumad children’s right to education and a fascist collaborator of the Duterte regime,” said SOS Network lead convenor Eule Rico Bonganay. 

“Briones irresponsibly relied on the malicious and baseless accusations of NSA chief Esperon and endorsed the closure of the 55 Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon community learning schools in Region 11. The Briones-Esperon tandem red baits Lumad schools, accusing the schools of teaching communism and forcibly shutting them down,” he added. 

Bonganay accused the DepEd of trying to downplay the decision by saying that the schools were merely suspended for supposedly failing to comply with necessary requirements for them to operate. 

He claimed that the schools have already submitted all requirements for accreditation to the DepEd Region 11 office. 

Bonganay accused Briones of failing to stop the crackdown against Lumad schools by the military. 

“She is not only depriving the Lumad students of education, but she is also disregarding their right as indigenous peoples to self-determination that includes their right to establish their Lumad schools and operate them on their own,” he added. 

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