SOS Southern Mindanao Statement on Universal Children’s Day

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.

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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).

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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

Actress Jodi Sta. Maria visits lumads in Haran

(published in SunStar Davao July 25, 2016)

IT WAS not the first time that the Lumads at UCCP Haran Center was visited by a star.

Still, many of them were star-struck when Jodi Sta. Maria (or more known with her screen name as “Amor Powers” in one of her teleseryes) walked in with a smile for everyone.

She also visited the children in their makeshift classrooms, and personally gave them bags and school supplies.

“Huwag niyong hayaan na makuha ‘yung pag-asa na nasa puso ninyo, yong pangarap na isang araw babalik kayo sa lupa ninyo. ‘yun ang huwag niyong i-give up (Don’t let them take the hope in your heart that one day you will be back to your land, never give it up),” was Ms. Jodi’s inspiring message to the Lumad kids.

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MISFI teachers flee from Alamara in Paquibato

Two teachers of the MISFI Academy in Brgy. Tapak, Paquibato District were forced to close the school and leave the community last July 7 after receiving threats from the paramilitary Alamara.

According to the teachers Jun Villasorda and Chavez Paterno Jr. the community members told them to leave immediately fearing retaliation from the Alamara members whose leader Ruben Lubawan was murdered in Panabo. Alamara members alleged the teachers were sympathetic to the New People’s Army.

The teachers had to trek for several hours through a different route for their safety. They received word from the community leaders in Tapak that Alamara leader Boris Cayuga warned the community they will burn the school and the teachers’ cottage, and hang the MISFI teachers if they plan to go back to the community.

Villasorda said in his statement he is dismayed by the Alamara’s red-tagging against them and the MISFI Academy and is concerned that classes have been disrupted for the children who have long been deprived of education from the government.

The Save Our Schools Network joins the MISFI Academy in calling out to President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Education to look into this continuing attacks by the paramilitary against lumad community schools.

We continue our call to stop the attacks on schools.

Classes in Talaingod, Surigao face threat of militarization, says SOS

Classes for Lumad children back in their communities in Talaingod are under threat of being disrupted by soldiers and paramilitary groups encamped in their communities.

The Save Our Schools Network Southern Mindanao said there were reported coming from teachers of Salugpongan Community Learning Center that they were warned by the community not to proceed to Sitio Piroy, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod as soldiers from 68th Infantry Battalion together with members of Lumad militia group Alamara are currently staying and encamping within the community which is within close perimeter of the school.

“Two teachers from Salugpongan are still staying in Sitio Tibucag, Brgy. Dagohoy since Lumad leaders told them not to proceed due to the presence of the military and Alamara in Sitio Piroy” said Valle.

Valle added that soldiers and Lumad militias have been there for about a week now.  Continue reading Classes in Talaingod, Surigao face threat of militarization, says SOS

Bakwit Brigada Eskwela campaign gets warm support

Our thanks to various institutions and individuals who responded to the Bakwit Brigada Eskwela campaign last June 1 to 8 through donating schools supplies and other needs to the lumad children bakwits who are starting this school year in the evacuation centers, as their communities remain unsafe with the presence of the military and para-military. Continue reading Bakwit Brigada Eskwela campaign gets warm support

Progressive incoming social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo visits Lumads in Haran

(published in SunStar Davao June 1, 2016)

INCOMING Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) secretary Judy Taguiwalo visited the lumad evacuees at UCCP Haran on Wednesday morning.

Taguiwalo conveyed to the lumads that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte had told them during their meeting last on Tuesday.

Taguiwalo said that it is the mandate of Duterte to his Cabinet members to be simple, a pronouncement he had already made early on.

According to Taguiwalo, Duterte told them that he will not interfere with their office affairs once they start to assume their post.

“Walang bigayan. Walang influence-peddling [sa Duterte administration]. Ang sabi niya [dapat] patas,” Taguiwalo said.

Taguiwalo said once she assumes office, she will check the issues besetting the lumad bakwits.

Continue reading Progressive incoming social welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo visits Lumads in Haran