“Education is key.” It’s an old saying, and it is considered to be a way of life. In the world we live in, education is a bridge that connects every nation. It gives a culture opportunities for the world to see it; no holding back, just making things known and appreciated throughout the world.
In the Philippines, there are certain Lumad schools whose goal is to provide basic education to children of various ethnicities who belong to indigenous communities in Mindanao. Some of these schools were recently shut down.
Lumad education caught between warring giants
News today shows that these Lumad schools are pinned in a struggle that has been fomenting for decades between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the present Philippine government. This has led to the forcible closing of some Lumad schools.
Child trafficking? Or a rescue mission?
Former Bayan Muna (political party) representative, Satur Ocampo, claims that the children were locked out of the schools by the battalion. The children, who were not from the area, began roaming the streets according to Ocampo, forcing him to intervene. Twelve local teachers and France Castro (ACT Partylist Representative) participated in the rescue as well.
Ocampo has recently been detained, however, and is now facing charges of trafficking after performing this rescue mission.
At least 29 students were with them, and are said to have walked for hours under heavy rain.
On another end, Municipal Executive Tribal Chieftain of Talaingod Davao Del Norte, Bai Pilar Libayao, stated that the school was padlocked by the teachers themselves, and that a request for the closure of these schools had already been brought to the Department of Education. The schools, he claims, do not serve the purposes of a school, and teach the children to “hate the government.”
Lumad schools that were allegedly shut down by the 56th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army and Alamara Paramilitary Group include: Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil Talaingod, and Davao Del Norte