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