Even with permits, IP students face threats if they return

The Manobo community of Talaingod ended their camp-in protest in the Department of Education after the permits of their community schools were partially released. But they still fear threats from soliders and paramilitary once they go back.

Manobo leader Datu Doloman Dawsay from their group Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon said they will still stay in a church compound here in Davao City until all permits are released and local officials would order the pullout of soldiers and paramilitary troops in Talaingod.

“Naa man gihapon sila didto sa tunga sa among komunidad, apil na diha sa among mga balay ug eskwelahan” (They [the military] are still there within our community, staying in our homes and even in schools) said Dawsay. “Mao nga nagbakwit mi diri halos duha na ka bulan, wala pa ning panghasi sa DepEd nga ipasara among mga eskwelahan,” (That is why we evacuated here a month ago, even before the threats of DepEd to close our schools) he added.

Dawsay urged DepEd officials and other local officials to order the pull out of troops from Talaingod so that they can resume their farming and children can return to school. As of this date, the students under the Salugpongan Community Learning Center (STTICLC) are holding temprorary classes in the church compound or in other areas which accomodates the students.

“The permit is never enough to protect our children from military attacks, we still urge Atty. Escobarte to hear our complaints and conduct investigations among these schools under attack” Datu Dawsay said

SOS Network spokesperson Rius Valle urged DepEd “to help the lumads against the continuing the military attacks on lumad schools in Talaingod and other provinces with STTICLC campuses.”

Valle said reports reached the network that parents and students in Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental were threatened by soldiers that their support from the government’s 4Ps program will be discontinued if they enrol in Salugpongan.

Dawsay also confirmed that their children were threatened by soldiers. “Naga ingon pud ang mga sundalo nga kung magpaenroll daw ang mga bata namo sa Salugpongan dili na dawaton sa ubang eskwelahan, (The soldiers said that our children will not be accepted in other schools if they continue to enroll in Salugpongan)” said Datu Dawsay.

They also receieved reports that only three students have enrolled in STTICLC School in Sitio Tibucag, Brgy. Dagohoy, Talaingod due to constant threats from soldiers. Some schools under construction including Barangay Mascareg in Mabini were held by the soldiers in Brgy. Mascareg, Mabini, Compostela Valley.

“The Department of Education still has to act on our plea to help us fight the continuing military attacks on our schools which is the main reason why the IPs are here,” said Valle.