Save Our Schools Network corrects Palace’s ‘malicious’ accusations against Lumad schools

The Save Our Schools (SOS) Network took to Facebook on July 29 to respond to Malacañang’s claims that three Lumad schools are operating without a license from the Department of Education (DepEd), calling those claims ‘malicious’ and ‘false.’ 
“In another statement released by Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag yesterday (July 28), the Malacañang identified three Lumad schools—namely ALCADEV Inc., CLANS, and Salugpongan—as illegally operating for their “refusal” to comply with the requirements of the Department of Education (DepEd) and for teaching subversive doctrines to its students,” the SOS Network’s statement read.  

“The Save Our Schools Network denounces these malicious and false accusations that malign the Lumad schools,” it added.  

This was in response to Banaag’s statement during the Mindanao Hour briefing at the Palace.  

“There are three main groups of left-oriented indigenous people schools, this is according to the Department of Education,” Banaag said. “These are the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Inc. or the Alcadev; second, the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services, Inc. or the Clans; and third, the Salugpungan Community Learning Center.” 
Banaag added that the ALCADEV of Surigao “has no permit to operate” and refuses to obtain one from DepEd. She also said that the Clans has three months left to comply with DepEd requirements.  

In response, the SOS Network said the Salugpongan schools have the proper permits.  

“First, the Salugpongan schools have permits to operate and have been complying with the K+12 curriculum, thus, adhering to the basic formal education system set by the Department of Education. Despite bearing some questions raised by Salugpongan on DepEd’s illogical requirements for indigenous peoples (IP) schools, it complied with all the necessary requirements to obtain permit to operate and to reach recognition status as well,” the statement from the organization read.  

They said that ALCADEV Inc. is approved by the DepEd Bureau of Alternative Learning System (DepEd-BALS).  

“ALCADEV Inc., on the other hand, is recognized by DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System (DepEd-BALS). As a duly recognized alternative learning institution, the Alcadev schools provide the Lumad people of Surigao del Sur “the chance to have access to and complete basic education in a mode that fits their distinct situations and needs” (DepEd). Indeed, the curriculum and method of instruction of the Alcadev schools manifest the basic principles and requirements of DepEd-BALS,” they said.  

The SOS Network also explained the legality and constitutionality of the ALCADEV Inc.’s existence.  

“In principle, alternative learning system is one of the forms of education other than formal education recognized and promoted by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Stated in Article XIV, Section 2, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution, the state shall “encourage non-formal, informal, and indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning, independent, and out-of-school study programs particularly those that respond to the community needs” (1987 Philippine Constitution). The UN Declaration on the Rights of IPs also enshrines the indigenous peoples’ right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions, in a manner appropriate to their culture and traditions. Hence, the existence and the operation of Alcadev schools are clearly LEGAL and CONSTITUTIONAL,” their statement read. 

The third school in the Palace’s warning is that of CLANS, which are still waiting for their permits.  

“In the case of CLANS, some of their schools are still awaiting their permits from DepEd despite having submitted all the required documents for operation. We believe that the delayed issuance of permit to operate is deliberate and part of the government’s stratagem to impede the operation of IP schools,” it said.  

The SOS Network also responded to the Malacañang’s allegations about Lumad schools teaching students with “subversive ideas.”  

“The SOS Network also decries the allegation of Malacañang that these institutions educate Lumad children with “subversive ideas.” Teaching the Lumad people of their human rights, of taking care of the environment and their ancestral lands, of sustainable agriculture, of enhancing their culture and traditions, among others are not subversive teachings. Rather, this is a form of transformative and holistic education which in fact contributes to community-building and national development as this promotes the social, political and cultural wellbeing of the Lumad people,” they said.  

The group wanted to remind President Duterte to fulfill the government’s mandate about providing free education. 

“Above all, we want to remind the Duterte Administration to fulfil its mandate of providing free, quality and accessible education to all. To achieve this, the Duterte Administration must recognize and promote education as a basic human right. And this can only be realized if the Duterte Administration will uphold the rights of the indigenous peoples to mold their own system of education that is, in essence, an acknowledgement of their right to self-determination,” they added.  

Earlier, ALCADEV Inc. posted uploaded photos of their permits, certifications, and awards, proving that they are operating legally.  

In a Facebook post addressed to the President, ALCADEV Inc. responded to his tirades. They cited previous attacks against their communities, reiterated that they already showed proof that they are operating legally and that no one has the right to bomb schools, denied teaching subversion to students, and urged Duterte to retract his threat about bombing Lumad schools.  

ALCADEV Inc.’s #SaveLumadSchools open letter to the president posted on July 28 went viral. They told Duterte how his threats, even to bomb empty schools, is opposed to what he should have done as the President – to use his position to protect the children’s education.  

“As the head of the Philippine government, we ask you to be at the forefront of upholding their right to education by using your power and influence to protect it at all costs, instead of being the one who holds the gun and pulls the trigger to kill their dreams and hopes in life,” ALCADEV Inc. said.  

Sources: ( )

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