Dinky Soliman should listen to Lumad children instead, says SOS Network

“Maybe Dinky should listen to children’s demands and send letters to Military to spare the school and IP communities from military operation” said Rius Valle, Spokesperson of Save Our Schools Network.

Despite DepEd’s declaration that the Salugpongan School and MISFI Academy may continue to operate as permits were handed over by DepEd – Indigenous People’s Education Office (IPsEO) last week, soldiers of 67th Infantry Battalion in Cateel, Davao Oriental, have been reported to have continued their attacks on schools unabated.

Based on SOS reports, just yesterday, elements of 67th IB led by a certain Sgt. Acmad and Sgt. Itaw have openly threatened parents and students at Sitio Paglusngan, Brgy. Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental. “The soldiers said that anyone who enrolls at Salugpongan School will cease to receive the Government’s 4Ps cash assistance from DSWD or will be delisted from the program” said Valle.

“Teachers were even directed to stop their classes since the soldiers were telling them that Salugpongan schools doesn’t have the permit to operate quoting the DepEd memorandum” Anna Eza Cohitmingao, Teacher-In-Charge of the school, said in a report.

“The children’s calls are legitimate, and it is clear that the soldiers have been using DSWD’s 4Ps program to threaten parents and children not to enroll in MISFI and Salugpongan Schools. I wonder who is using something for their malicious interest?” said Valle.

Valle added that, children only want education, and they are entitled to be heard by the Government who are being paid by the people’s taxes to serve and protect all Filipino People, especially the children.

“I will no longer rebut Dinky’s irresponsible remarks regarding the term ‘use’ of children since she doesn’t even care to listen to the calls of the IP children on education” Valle said.

Valle issued this challenge to the DSWD secretary: “Sec. Dinky Soliman must issue a clarificatory statement or order regarding the threats of stopping the 4P’s cash assistance to IPs beneficiaries to intimidate and prevent IP students and their parents from availing of Salupongan’s IP charity education which, if Soliman is not aware of, is a clear violation of children’s right to development” Valle said.