On World Teachers’ Day, freedom for teacher Amelia Pond raised

MANILA – The Save Our Schools Network calls for the immediate release of detained Lumad school teacher and rural missionary coordinator Amelia Pond in a rally in front of the Department of Justice in commemoration World Teacher’s Day, today, October 5, 2016.

The rally gathered lumad-children and students’ rights advocates who believed the arrest of Pond was illegal and an attempt by desperate elements from the military to vilify teachers who are serving the lumad communities.

Pond, 64, is a teacher for the Salugpongan Community Learning Center serving Talaingod and other rural-lumad communities in Mindanao. He has been with Salugpongan since 2008 and took part of the formulation of the national indigenous people’s education curriculum of the Department of Education.

Pond was illegally arrested last August 19 in Cebu City after attending a Rural Missionaries of the Philippines’ assembly. Her arrest was based on a warrant named after Adelfa Toledo.

Continue reading On World Teachers’ Day, freedom for teacher Amelia Pond raised

Lumad and Community Educators: Free Our Teachers on World Teachers Day!

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!

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.

Continue reading Lumads troop DepEd to seek help for arrested teacher

Lumad school head exposes intel harassment on family

(Story originally posted on DavaoToday.com)
(Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Incorporated Executive Director Ronnie Garcia decries the threats he got from an alleged army intelligence agent. He said the school and their teachers have been tagged as an NPA school even before he formally started teaching in 2011. (Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com))

DAVAO CITY— A Lumad school administrator accuse the Army of sending intelligence agents to harass him by “visiting” him and his family.

Ronnie Garcia, executive director of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) said they saw suspicious men in the Davao Regional Hospital in Barangay Apokon, Tagum City where they were attending to his sick grandfather morning of July 24.

Continue reading Lumad school head exposes intel harassment on family

Lumads’ plight moves Vagina Monologue playwright Eve Ensler to tears

Eve Ensler, founder of One Billion Rising global campaign turns emotional after hearing the stories of the Lumad evacuees inside the evacuation center at a church compound in Davao City on Friday, February 12. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com) Continue reading Lumads’ plight moves Vagina Monologue playwright Eve Ensler to tears

Salugpongan foundation visitors harassed by Alamara and police checkpoints

(Salugpongan students celebrating their foundation day and Bwalawan Festival with songs)

Last September 28 and 30, some 110 participants to the 11th foundation event of the Salupgongan Community Learning Center were harassed by the paramilitary Alamara and police.

Some 116 participants including students, teachers and parents were on their way to the school’s ceremonies in the Km 30, Barangay Dagohoy, Talaingod when they were blocked by the Alamara and the 68th Infantry soldiers at an army checkpoint at Sitio Daligdigon, Barangay Dagohoy. The participants came from other Salugpongan Centers from Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

Alamara leader Lumansad Sibugan insisted that the contingent had to get the permit from the tribal council before entering Km. 30.

The participants turned back and found another route to Km 30 later in the afternoon where participants held its sports festival and cultural activities for two days.

But on their way home on September 30, the participants were harassed again. A bus that was supposed to fetch the visitors was turned back at a military checkpoint. The contingent waited for hours amidst people suspected as soldiers approaching them and asking them questions and cornering a tribal chieftain for “interrogation”.

The contingent decided to hire jeeps to bring them home but was stopped by another checkpoint near Kapalong, the police cited various violations by the drivers and attempted to impound the jeeps, but stopped after a reporter who phoned a Salugpongan administrator who was among the contingent demanded to interview the police.

The contingent managed to get ‘rescued’ as the SOS fielded vehicles to get them home.

Salugpongan Center’s basic education principal Ronnie Garcia criticized the harassment as part of the attacks on Lumad schools. He said the Salugpongan school’s anniversary events have been peaceful until the soldiers came to their areas in 2013.

read more from news stories here
Interaksyon: Alamara militia in Talaingod blocks lumads from Salugpungan rites

Interaksyon: After evading bid to bar them from festival, tribal school teachers, students harassed on way home

UN expert Chaloka Beyani urges action on Manobo evacuees

Dr. Chaloka Beyani, UN Special Rapporteur (at the middle) stands beside Datu Tungig Mansimoy-at, a Manobo evacuee and tribal chieftain from Talaingod, Davao del Norte during the visit of human rights advocates in Manila last July 21. (photo from Karapatan)


Dr. Chaloka Beyani, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of the internally-displaced persons, recently made an official visit to the Philippines last July 21 to 31, including a visit to UCCP Haran in Davao City to talk with the Manobo evacuees. Prior to her visit to Davao, she met Manobo leader Datu Tungig Mansimoy-at from Salugpongan in Manila last July 21 where the tribal leader initially talked about their plight.

The rapporteur released an official statement which included the following excerpt on the Manobo communities, which ends with an urgent call to take concrete actions to protect the indigenous communities.

“It was striking to me that indigenous peoples have been particularly vulnerable to conflict-induced displacement in many regions, particularly in Mindanao. For example, I am concerned by the plight of some 700 indigenous peoples currently living in basic Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) church run facilities in the city of Davao having been displaced from their ancestral homes for several months due to long-standing conflict between the government and the New People’s Army (NPA) in their region. I travelled to Davao to consult the national and local authorities and the indigenous peoples themselves on this situation. I heard from the AFP its assertion that it is seeking to protect the communities and provide services to them in conflict regions; however the displaced IPs made it clear that it is their presence and that of the paramilitary groups in their communities that continues to create anxiety amongst the indigenous communities. The community wishes to return to its lands but stressed to me that they will only feel safe to do so if the long-term militarization of their region comes to an end and they can return with guarantees of safety, dignity and protection. They described to me their concerns including their alleged forced recruitment into paramilitary groups, known as Alamara, under the auspices of the AFP and harassment in the context of the on-going conflict between the AFP and the NPA. Schools have reportedly been closed and/or occupied by the AFP or Alamara, hampering the access to education of indigenous children. While tribal leaders informed me that they are not being detained against their will at the UCCP centre in Davao, as is evident by reports of their periodic return to their communities, their current situation is neither acceptable nor sustainable. It is essential to find a rapid and peaceful solution to their situation in full consultation with their legitimate leaders, with their voluntary and secure return to their ancestral lands being a high priority. I urge the Government, in consultation with indigenous peoples themselves, to give greater attention to addressing the causes of displacement whether it be due to the militarization of their areas or due to development projects.

This situation clearly demonstrates the massive and potentially irreversible impact of the on-going conflicts on displacement of such vulnerable communities who are often caught up in the conflict and suspected of involvement with armed groups. Displacement, whether due to conflict or development, not only destroys the homes and livelihoods of indigenous peoples, but has an incalculable impact on their cultures and ways of life that are part of the rich and diverse heritage of the Philippines that must be protected or otherwise lost, perhaps forever. Indigenous peoples are poorly equipped to survive away from their ancestral lands and are therefore deeply affected by displacement. The needs of these vulnerable people must be assessed, with their full participation, so as to provide essential assistance for them, including durable solutions which are culturally sensitive and appropriate, when displacement has taken place. The displacement of such communities whose very lives and cultures are intimately entwined with their ancestral lands and environments must only be a matter of last resort. It is clear to me that existing legislation and institutions, including the exemplary Indigenous Peoples Rights Act cannot provide adequate protection from displacement unless fully implemented in practice. Specific provisions on the rights of indigenous peoples should be included in the IDP Law currently under consideration.”

The full text of Beyani’s statement can be found in the United Nation Human Rights website here.


Woman chieftain chastises Catamco

Watch this video as Matigsalug leader Bae Bibiyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, one of the few woman chieftain in Mindanao, chastises North Cotabato Congresswoman Nancy Catamco in the aftermath of the police clash with her fellow lumads at the UCCP Haran.


Bae Bibiayon, a leader of the Natulinan organization in Bukidnon, rebukes the Congresswoman for betraying their trust as a fellow lumad and insisted them to return back to their villages through police force.

The Congresswoman is also declared persona-non-grata the lumads for disrespecting their leaders and insulting the lumad children in a dialogue. See story here.

Below is the statement of the Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon criticizing Catamco over the incidence.

The declaration of ‘pangayaw’ by a datu supported by Nancy Catamco is arrogant and fascist, and this is the message shown by the group of police, Alamara and civilian-wearing soldiers ordered by Catamco to disturb our shelter at UCCP Haran.

Their brutality and murderous intent were shown in their actions in our communities and once again here in Davao City.

We condemn the infiltration made by the group led by Catamco that disturbed our peaceful evacuation. They destroyed the gates of UCCP Haran, beat our families, dragged some of the UCCP pastors, and accused us as criminals.

What Catamco did is plain disturbance and disrespect to us lumads. He used the police and Alamara to forced us to go home but she and the notorious police and Alamara have failed in doing this.

The anger that Bae Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay expressed in front of Catamco yesterday is not even enough to show our anger towards this Congresswoman who claims to be an educated lumad but we witnessed her arrogance, disrespect and fakery.

Catamco should be investigated for her actions and her connections with the military. She should be held accountable for the troubles she made that resulted to the police brutality and dispersal at UCCP Haran.

Catamco’s threat that she will return to UCCP Haran poses a threat to the security of our families and to the Manbo community.

Manobos declare Congresswoman Catamco persona non-grata

For insulting and disrespecting the evacuees, Manobo leaders declared North Cotabato Congresswoman Nancy Catamco “persona non grata” to their evacuation shelter at the UCCP Haran.

This declaration was made after the Manobo leaders felt they were slighted by Catamco in a dialogue with her and other government officials with support groups last July 15 to address their issues.

Leaders from the groups Salugpongan of Talaingod, Karadyawan of Kapalong and Kasilo of Bukidnon
said in a press conference (story here) that they felt disrespected when Catamco refused to listen to their demands and kept interrupting them when they were raising their points.

They recounted that Catamco kept ignoring them in the dialogue held at the UCCP Haran by passing the microphone to the evacuees and asked if they wanted to go home and told them they are assured of free transportation.

The dialogue later moved to another venue, but eventually the Manobo leaders and support groups walked out.

In this voiceclip, Catamco can be heard raising her voice in response to a person who said they would rather die in the evacuation center than return to their militarized communities.

She said “Okay, you want to die here? Okay, you want to die here? He said that. You want to die? Alright, those who want to die here, raise your hands. Raise your hands! You want this? Really?” Later she added “I cannot understand seeing the children here stinking (baho) like this …”

The Manobo leaders said Catamco even brought military officials to the dialogue which made their families worried. They later called Catamco “arrogant” and “not real” in her feelings for the lumads.

They said they will no longer open their doors to a dialogue with Catamco after her actions and would wait for other venues to resolve their issues.