DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) in Southern Mindanao has ordered the temporary shutdown of 55 schools catering to indigenous peoples communities in the region for allegedly deviating from the basic curriculum, among other reasons.
The closure of the schools, operated and owned by the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers was contained in an order dated July 12, 2019, and was signed by DepEd Southern Mindanao director-in-charge Evelyn Fetalvero.
DepEd regional spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said the order was based on the report of National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr, who chairs the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (INFOGRAPHIC: Who are the Lumad?)
Among the findings of the task force was that the Lumad schools deviated from the curriculum set by the DepEd; that school officials made it mandatory for the learners to join anti-government rallies; and that the schools teach them to rebel against the government.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself had made the same allegation against the Lumad schools, and even threatened to "bomb" the schools.
Atillo said all students of the Salugpungan schools will be enrolled in nearby public schools so their education would not be disrupted.
He said school officials were given 5 days upon receipt of the order to suspend operations to submit their counter-affidavits.
The DepEd order came less than two months after tribal leaders in Calinan district here asked the government to shut down the Lumad schools for allegedly serving as recruitment facilities of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Tribal leader Datu George Mandahay said those who would be displaced by the closure of the Lumad schools can enroll in public schools anyway. – Rappler.com