In the course of the outrage over the state of repression on International Human Rights Day, there is one cause for celebration — the dismissal of trumped up charges against Lumad school teacher Amelia B. Pond.
Pond, 65 years old and curriculum researcher for Salugpongan schools, was detained for 15 months on trumped up charges of murder before her eventual release last December 7, 2017.
The court’s dismissal of the case against her, as witnesses recanted their allegations, proves the falsity of charges filed against Pond.
Continue reading Salugpongan Teacher Amelia Pond released after dismissal of trumped up charges
The Save Our Schools Network urges the Department of Education to protect the Lumad schools in light of President Duterte’s proclamation of terminating peace talks with the NDF and the intensified military operations to come.
We join the Lumad students, teachers and parents in raising concern on the cancellation of talks as this signals the intensifying militarization in our communities and our perpetual displacement.
Time and again Lumad communities are not spared from military occupation and harassment since July 2016. There are 2,200 students and teachers in Lumad communities in Mindanao who were victims of harassment, and 39 Lumad schools that are forced to close down. Lumads are vilified by the military as sympathizers of the New People’s Army without proof.
Continue reading SOS urges DepEd to protect Lumad schools as peace talks collapse
On the Universal Children’s Day, the Save Our Schools Network Southern Mindanao reiterates its call for education officials to act now to protect the Lumad schools in Mindanao under attacks.
On this day, we call out the Department of Education to turn their words into action.
Continue reading SOS Southern Mindanao Statement on Universal Children’s Day
(This is a statement by the Association of Community Educators or ACE)
On World Teachers’ Day, we the Association of Community Educators (ACE), comprising of Lumad school teachers in Southern Mindanao, join the global community of teachers in recognizing the essential role of teachers in their contribution to the education of the youth for the advancement of the nation.
In the Philippine context, where illiteracy especially among the poor and the Lumad communities, the role of teachers is relevant yet deprived of support. Education, such as the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, is a tool for liberation. This is most true for the Lumad communities in Mindanao who have been deprived of basic services such as public schools and have also been victims of exploitation and discrimination.
With such vision, the communities worked with teachers, church people and non-government teachers set up the Lumad schools under the Salugpongan Community Learning Center and the MISFI Academy.
Continue reading World Teachers’ Day, support Lumad school teachers as catalysts for service and change
The Save Our Schools (SOS) network, a network of children’s rights and human rights advocates advocating for the lumad children’s right to education and right to self-determination, strongly condemn President Rodrigo Duterte’s post State of the Nation Address (SONA) statement that threatened to bomb lumad schools in Mindanao.
We, in the SOS network, has actively campaigned against military attacks on schools during the Aquino administration where lumad schools in Mindanao were viciously attacked and somewhere forcibly closed due to intensified militarization. Lumad leaders and educators were vilified, threatened and killed. The massare in Lianga, Surigao del Sur in 2015 wherein two lumad leaders, Bello Sinzo and Dionel Campos and ALCADEV executive director Emerito Samarca where killed and still has not found justice almost two years after.
When he was still a mayor of Davao City, President Duterte openly criticized the AFP who were using schools and other public places as posts or barracks. But his statement after his second SONA clearly contradicted his previous support for lumads and showed his prostration to AFP.
President Duterte openly declared a war against lumad people. He, as the president, vilified and red-tagged lumad schools as schools of the New People’s Army (NPA). True enough, AFP trained, funded and armed paramilitary group Alamara harassed at least four lumad schools in Mindanao the following day. Duterte’s statements were clearly taken as a marching order by his lapdogs in the AFP, continuing and intensifying attacks on lumad schools, communities and peoples. Continue reading Save Our Schools Network Unity Statement on President Duterte’s Threat to Bomb Lumad Schools
Almost one year into the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, we thought change had come for the Lumads who finally went home from the sanctuary of UCCP Haran to their communities holding on Duterte’s promise of peace.
But the lumads and their children still encounter the same threats that drove them out in the past three years. The paramilitary Alamara has constantly harassed teachers and students in Talaingod and Alamara. Soldiers have encamped in the schools of Salugpongan Community Learning Center and MISFI Academy all across Davao Region.
There have been 39 of these cases under Duterte’s first year in the presidency from July 1 up to the present.
Meanwhile, a senior school teacher, Amelia Pond of Salugpongan, was arrested last August and is facing trumped up charges of murder.
Continue reading Fierce attacks on lumad schools under Duterte’s first year
Today, as the world commemorates the world teachers day, Lumad school teachers and members of the Association of Community Educators, strongly demand the immediate release of Lumad school teacher and personnel Amelia B. Pond and Agriculturist Dominiciano Muya.
Pond is a teacher and researcher of Salugpongan Learning Center was illegally arrested last August 19, 2016 in Cebu City by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group operatives. She is charged with the trumped-up cases of murder/frustrated murder. She was arrested by the CIDG by alleging that she is a certain “Adelfa Toledo”.
Pond is the Regional Coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) and a researcher of Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) and is also an active member of ACE and actively participates in all activities which promotes community educators’ rights and welfare.
Teacher Amy, has long been committed in the campaign for Education For All (EFA) and Indigenous People’s Education (IPEd).
Continue reading Lumad and Community Educators: Free Our Teachers on World Teachers Day!
(Salugpongan Learning Center Ronie Garcia, left, with members of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines visited Teacher ‘Ammy’ Amelia Pond (in blue shirt) at the Camp Sotero Cabahug in Cebu City)
August 19, 2016
Rural Missionaries condemn the arrest of its Southern Mindanao region Coordinator
The women and men, priests, clergy and lay workers of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) denounced the illegal arrest and detention of Amelia Pond, 64 years old, Regional Coordinator of RMP Southern Mindanao Region and a teacher and research-documentation officer of Salugpongan Schools in the region. The incident happened today August 19 at 12noon while on her way out from the Living the Gospel Renewal Center after attending the 3-day RMP National Assembly in Archbishop Reyes Avenue, Lahug, Cebu City.
“We condemn this attack on Ms. Amelia as this is harassment to us supporters of the farmers and indigenous people in the countryside under the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” stated by Sr. Francis Anover, RSM of RMP.
RMP SMR just like any other regions in Mindanao was known for supporting and helping the Lumad people to build schools. But these Lumad were also primarily target of military and para-military attacks that resulted to increasing numbers of human rights violation and bakwet (evacuees).
Continue reading Rural Missionaries condemn arrest of Salugpongan teacher Ammy Pond
Amelia Pond, a Salugpongan Learning Center teacher and coordinator of Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao was illegally arrested during the RMP National Assembly on August 19 by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Cebu City on trumped-up charges of murder and frustrated murder.
Last October 16, 2014, Dominiciano Muya, an agriculturist/teacher of Salugpongan Center was illegally arrested by combined forces of CIDG and AFP in Davao del Norte. He was charged with trumped-up cases of murder and frustrated murder, robbery and damage to properties and is currently detained in Bukidnon.
We condemn the illegal arrests and attacks on community teachers. They are teachers, not killers!
On July 18, 3,000 Mindanao Lumad, farmers, Moro, workers and activists embarked on a Manilakbayan (caravan) to take part in President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25. This is the first time that a significant contingent from Mindanao will be taking part in the SONA event in Manila.
Today marks the third day of our Manilakbayan and we are currently in Tacloban. With each day, hundreds more are expected to join our caravan. Most have come from the countryside, victims of continuing militarization and human rights violations. They hope that the Duterte government will hear their cries and address their grievances.
With hope in our hearts, we’re now travelling across the country to witness Duterte’s SONA and appeal to him to hear our plea for change.
Continue reading Dear President Duterte, Let Mindanawons march with you this SONA