Duterte clarifies he’d only bomb empty illegal Lumad schools that teach children to hate the gov’t

President Rodrigo Duterte said he did not meant to bomb Lumad schools with students in them as he clarified the remarks he made during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).  
Duterte told the media in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental on July 27 that he would not bomb the schools with if children are still inside them.  

“Wala akong sinabi na bombahan ko ‘yang may tao kaya sinabi ko umalis kayo diyan. Ibig sabihin, sisirain ko ‘yan because you are using a school without a license from the Department of Education,” Duterte said. 

“Hindi ko sinabi patayin ko ‘yung mga bata. Far from it actually. Librehin ko ang bata sa perdition ninyo because they will learn to be pareho sa inyo,” the President added. 

He said that he would destroy the schools for teaching the children to hate the government.  

“Sisirain ko ‘yan kasi ginagamit ninyong eskwelahan para… to destroy the mental attitude, the mental health of the children. They grow up there hating government and going to war pagka malaki na,” Duterte said. 

“You are perpetuating the violence in this country and I have to stop it. I have every reason to stop it because you are producing another generation of haters. Huwag mo akong bolahin. Wala kayong tinuturo diyan kung ‘di ‘yang socialism pati patayan,” he added. 

AFP issues clarification 
The Armed Forces of the Philippines also clarified Duterte’s remarks on bombing the schools.  

“Actually, kinakailangan mainintidihan niyo po ‘yung pananalita ng ating mahal na Pangulo. Binanggit niya po ‘yun pero hindi naman po talagang gagawin ‘yun na bobombahin mo ‘yung eskwelahan dahil may mga bata pa diyan ‘no,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said on July 28. 

“He wants to communicate a strong position against those behind the organizations of these illegal learning institutions. So kung ano man ang hakbang na kailangan gawin ng ating Armed Forces, gagawin natin ‘to pero hindi sa ganoon klaseng paraan,” Padilla added. 

Padilla noted how “compassionate” Duterte is, especially towards children.  

He said he is certain Duterte’s threat to bomb the Lumad schools would never happen.  

“I’m sure of that. The President is among the most compassionate, if I can say that,” Padilla said. 

“Matigas siya, matigas ang dating niya, matapang, pero ‘pag ang pinagusapan kabataan, napakalambot ng puso ng mahal ng Pangulo,” he added.  

The AFP also warned Lumad schools against “brainwashing” the students’ minds.  

“It is not bad to teach communism per se because we in college learned about it. But if you target very young minds, vulnerable minds and try to sway them to a certain kind of thinking, that is like brainwashing. ‘Yun po ang mali ditto,” Padilla said.  

“Why would you want to brainwash a child just because you want them to perpetuate what you want them to do,” he added. 

Palace clarifies Duterte’s remarks 

Communications Asssistant Secretary Marie Banaag said that there are “legitimate” Lumad schools, but there are those that did not comply with the requirements as well.  

Joining Padilla at the Malacañang press briefing, Banaag said that the President was only warning the Lumad schools “which don’t have permits from the Department of Education…and refuse to comply with DepEd requirements on curriculum.” 

She added that the President only meant he would bomb the structures, not the children.  

Banaag revealed that based on reports from the Department of Education, there are three Lumad schools that have not followed DepEd regulation. She named the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Incorporated (ALCADEV); the Salugpungan Community Learning Center, and the Center of Lumad Advocacy and Services Incorporated (the Clans).  

Organization urges Duterte to apologize 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers urged Duterte to issue a public apology to the Lumads over his threat against them.  

“Nakakalungkot sa Presidente ay marinig natin ang isang shocking at horrific pronouncement na bobombahin niya yung Mindanao. President Duterte is acting like a war lord. Para siyang mandirigma, sir Duterte leave the lumads alone dahil attacking civilians, attacking teachers, students is a war crime,” ACT national chairperson Benjamin Valbuena said at a press briefing at the University of the Philippines-Diliman on July 28.  

“In the name of civility and respect, President Duterte should publicly retract his pronouncement. Kailangan humingi siya ng public apology sa mga lumads. He must stop his senseless pronouncement, instead he must guarantee the right to education of the lumads and solve perennial problems in the educational system,” Valbuena added. 

The ACT said that they are already coordinating with Lumad teachers to develop an “appropriate curriculum” for the students.  

The Save Our Schools (SOS) network said Duterte should support the Lumad schools instead.  

“Lumad schools which were persevered by lumad organizations is an assertion of their basic human rights and their right to self-determination,” the SOS said. 

“President Duterte should instead show his support to initiatives of national minorities by recognizing lumad schools as institutions built by lumad people and respect those as sacred to them and their culture,” they added. 

The National Youth Commission also suggested that DepEd “resolve their differences” and come up with an agreement with Lumad schools to remove suspicions that these schools are being used to mold young rebels against the government.

Sources: ( , , )

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