The Educators Forum for Development (EfD) on Friday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to order the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to end its militarization of alternative schools of indigenous peoples in Mindanao in southern Philippines.
EfD’s stand is a demonstration of its strong support to the fight of the Save our Schools (SOS) for the interest and benefit of the indigenous people’s schools.
Investigation by the group allegedly showed that the AFP has not stopped its militarization of the alternative schools of the indigenous peoples in Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen.
The group cited 168 incidents of military attacks on 47 lumad (indigenous people) schools under the Aquino administration’s Oplan: Bayanihan and the Duterte administration’s Oplan: Kapayapaan.
The incident caused the evacuation of over 1,000 families and 5,000 students, it said.
The SOS pointed to 16 battalions and two brigades of the AFP, paramilitary troops and even some government agencies as “perpetrators.”
The EfD said the AFP attacks not only against indigenous peoples but also farmers have only intensified and involved aerial bombings, shelling and strafing, as in Compostela Valley and Sarangani and even Abra in Northern Luzon.
“It was also during this period that Ramon and Leonela Pesadilla, a couple who had donated land for a lumad school, were murdered in their home,” the SOS said.
“The [Duterte] administration should end these attacks and execute its duty to uphold the lumad and every other Filipino’s right to education,” EfD said.
NELSON S. BADILLA