HUMAN rights group Karapatan on Friday slammed the recent military encampment in a school in Compostela Valley, stressing that the guidelines of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) are being used to justify rights violations against children and communities.
Karapatan learned that soldiers were occupying a school in Mangyon Village in municipality of Compostela and disrupting the classes of 230 children.
Salugpungan Ta TanuIgkanugon Community Learning Center is a self-help community-based school of Matigsalog indigenous people with 230 students and five teachers.
On January 25, members of the Delta Company of the 25th IBPA headed by Lt. Heruben Romare occupied the community of the Matigsalog tribe. The school’s administrators and community leaders asked the soldiers to leave the school house, but Lt. Heruben Romare remained, claiming they would conduct a peace and development outreach program in the community.
Karapatan received the report a day after it released a statement opposing Department of Education Memorandum 221 and AFP Letter Directive 25, which still allows the presence of AFP in schools for civil-military activities and operations.
A team composed of various human rights organization and advocates responded to the situation and together with the village leaders they held a dialogue with members of the 25th IB to demand to leave the school and their community.
The military left after the dialogue, but set up a camp at the periphery of the community. The Matigsalog people are still in constant threat with the presence of soldiers nearby.