Lumads troop DepEd to seek help for arrested teacher

(photo from Atenews/ Ram Manlatican)

DAVAO CITY – Some 400 lumad indigenous people from different communities in Southern Mindanao together with the administration of Salugpongan School urged the Department of Education Region XI to demand the pull-out of military troops in indigenous people’s schools.

Military encampment in schools, communities and other public places is prohibited by law thus, Deped shall assert this to protect the students, teachers and villagers.

Salugpongan also calls for DepEd to help in the immediate release Amelia Pond.

Amelia Pond, who was illegally arrested last August 19 in Cebu City was Salugpongan’s Curriculum Development researcher since 2008. Later in 2013 she became the regional coordinator of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines.

According to Sarika Calimbo, Field Operations Officer of Salugpongan School, Amelia was active in attending workshops and trainings of the Department of Education in formulating the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) Curriculum since 2012.

“Amelia’s contribution in IP education is paramount. Even before the creation of Indigenous People’s Education Office (IPsEO) by the Department of Education in 2011, Amelia have been working in research and Development” said Calimbo.

Meanwhile, SOS spokesperson Rius Valle defined the arrest as an attempt to sabotage the ongoing peacetalks and at the same time destroy the education lumads have attained for years.

“As Amelia Pond was arrested in Cebu, we have received reports from several communities and schools that there is an ongoing heavy military operation in Compostela Valley Province” said Valle as he cited that schools are still being encamped by soldiers despite the president’s proclamation of ceasefire.

“Amelia Pond is also an IP school teacher who devoted her life for the marginalized. The name specified in the warrant wasn’t hers. We will appreciate any help from the Department of Education to justify her identity as she have been active in promoting and creating IP education curriculum” Valle said.

Valle also thanked and recognized Duterte’s sincerity in attaining just and lasting peace through peace negotiation with the revolutionaries and urge also the department to show the same by protecting lumad schools, their teachers and students.