DepEd verifying reports of Lumad schools' link to leftist rebels

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2019 10:15 AM | Updated as of Jul 18 2019 05:55 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Education (DepEd) said Thursday it was verifying reports from the National Security Council (NSC) that 55 Lumad schools in the Davao region had links to communist rebels.

This as it came under fire for ordering the suspension of the schools operated and owned by the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers. 

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the schools did not comply with DepEd requirements. She said the department was checking reports the NSC filed last February.

"Ang nag-trigger ng sigalot na ito ay last February pa nagsabi na ang National Security Adviser na may mga findings sila. Every year talagang issue 'yan, hindi naman as if suddenly pumutok na lang ito. May mga findings sila na vineverify namin ngayon. May sarili kaming standards," Briones told radio DZMM.

(What triggered this dispute is last February, the National Security Adviser said they had findings. Every year this is an issue. It's not as if it was sudden. They have findings that we are verifying, we have our own standards.)

"Yes, vine-verify namin at ongoing ito. Kinakausap ko ang mga aming officials kung ano ang findings nila kasi kami may sariling proseso sa pag-assess ng mga eskuwelahan. Problema 'yan every year."

(Our verification is ongoing. I am speaking to our officials regarding their findings because we have our own process in assessing schools. This is a problem every year.)

Briones said she spoke with two DepEd officials who said some schools did not comply with the DepEd curriculum, which they found out during a surprise visit.

"Dalawa ang nakausap ko sabi nila iba sa curriculum natin. Pero kung pormal na bisita mukha namang sumusunod sa curriculum," she said.

(I spoke to 2 officials who said their curriculum was different from DepEd's. But if it was a formal visit it seems they follow the curriculum.)

Commission of Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said the closure of the schools "causes concern" since it affects the students' schooling.

De Guia said while there is a national security issue behind the closures, allegations that the schools are serving as training ground for rebels "still require substantial pieces of evidence and due process."