A Lumad school shared photos of their certifications from the Department of Education, local government units, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to disprove President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that they are operating illegally.
The Alternative Learning Center of Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) Inc. took to Facebook on July 26 to counter Duterte’s remark during his press conference after his second SONA on July 24 about them operating without getting a permit from DepEd and teaching students to rebel against the government.
“Iyong mga Lumad, they are operating without DepEd’s permit. Kasi eskwelahan sila, but they are teaching subversion, communism,” he said.
“Umalis kayo dyan, sabihin ko sa mga Lumad. Bobombahan ko iyan, isali ko iyang mga istraktura. I will use the Philippine Air Force. You are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to rebel against the government. Kung may kalokohan kayo, eh di mas lalo na ako,” he added.
One of the Lumad schools, ALCADEV Inc., responded to Duterte’s threats, urging him to ask the government agencies that have been working with Lumad schools first since they started.
Addressing the President, ALCADEV Inc. said: “You are claiming that our Lumad schools are illegally operating so you can justify the attacks on our schools and threaten us to bomb our communities. We suggest you check first with your agencies we’ve coordinated with since time immemorial.”
The post was accompanied with several photos of the school’s certification from DepEd, showing them as a SEC-registered NGO managing a “secondary alternative school that specializes in agriculture and skills development for the indigenous people (Lumad-Manobo Tribe) and agrarian communities.”
In a separate post, ALCADEV Inc. also uploaded a photo of a trophy for their 2014 National Literacy Awards for Outstanding Literacy Program from the Literacy Coordinating Council.
“We aren’t just permitted by the government. We are also recognized for being outstanding,” said the Lumad school.
Three years ago, ALCADEV Inc. did upload an album of photos showing the events of what happened during the validation of the Lumad school’s National Literacy Awards. The event was attended by guests such as the DepEd council, DepEd officials from the region, local government officials, and the Philippine National Police of Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
ALCADEV Inc. was founded on July 19, 2004 to provide secondary education to the indigenous youth and offer them academic studies, vocational skills, and technical skills. The students are then connected to their communities through different activities with their parents and other community members.
Lumad leaders denied the President’s allegations, adding that these unverified claims linking them to communist rebels first surfaced during former President Glora Arroyo’s administration.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella explained Duterte’s remarks down to the government’s duty to protect the students from physical harm and wrong education.
“President Duterte highlights the need to protect our youth and doing so entails ensuring they get the correct education that reinforces the right values that instill love of country and respect for our laws among others, and not rebellion,” Abella said.
“The president notes that certain lumad or indigenous schools are being used to foment rebellion against the government. The president warns them in the strongest terms to discontinue these actions as persistence will warrant appropriate government action,” he added.
ACT Teachers Party-list Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro demanded that Duterte retract his threat against the Lumad schools and compared the threat to an “endorsement of violence and murder against indigenous peoples.”
“We demand that the President retract his statement. We demand justice for all victims of militarization of communities, including the thousands of bakwits due to martial law. We demand that he order the military to pull out of civilian communities and end all forms of attacks against Lumad schools and people’s organizations,” their statement read.
“It is an order for the AFP to target civilians as rebels, and to intensify the militarization of their communities, the threats, intimidation, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and charging of trumped-up cases against students, teachers and tribal leaders, and the encampment and destruction by the military of schools,” they added.
National Union of People’s Lawyers President Edre Olalia called Duterte’s threat “as monstrous as it can get.”
“First you distorted human rights, now you taunt international humanitarian law. Stop the madness already,” Olalia said.
A Lumad student, Beverly Godofreo of Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. talked about how they have been affected by martial law and plead Duterte to end it.