Sen. Miriam Santiago

Miriam wants probe on closure of lumad schools in Davao del Norte

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago wants to investigate the closure of the lumad school Salugpongan Community Learning Center and the fielding of soldiers as “para-teachers”.

The senator filed on June 8 Proposed Senate Resolution No. 1392 that seeks the senate to conduct an inquiry on reports that 3,000 students would be affected by the shutdown of lumad schools.

Santiago wants to probe why the Department of Education Davao del Norte made an order last May to close the schools and replace them with schools that have soldiers acting as “para-teachers”.

She said that such moves violate the Constitution particularly in Article 2, sections 5 and 17.

Section 5 states: “The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.”

Section 17, on the other hand, states: “The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, promote total human liberation and development.”

Santiago also proposed that schools all over the country should be declared as peace zones where the military and other armed groups should keep away.

The senator’s resolution is based on reports from Save Our Schools Network which also raised complaints last December 2014 that soldiers have camped out in schools and disrupted regular schooling. She noted their documents reported that the operations of the Philippine Army’s 60th and 68th Infantry Battalions have affected 4,300 students and 41 teachers from January to May this year.