• NGOs deny link to terror group

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    TWO non-government organizations operating two schools in the Philippines decried the accusations made by Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur that they are involved in terrorist activities.

    In a statement sent to media, senior officials of the Integrative Center for Alternative Development Foundation, Inc. (ICAD) and Pacific Dialogue Foundation, Inc. (PDF) said Filipino and Turkish citizens own the local schools.

    Bora Aslan Cihangir Arslan, Public Relations Director, said the Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga City and Fountain International School in Metro Manila that were mentioned by the Turkish ambassador offer a secular education under the Cambridge system.

    “These schools do not teach religion. They accept students of all religious backgrounds as ICAD’s mandate is to promote peace and understanding through education among people of diverse cultures. The students come from more than 20 countries, including children of foreign dignitaries. With a Cambridge designed curriculum, aligned with DepEd standards, the schools focus on science and mathematics. Since its establishment in 1996, ICAD has graduated 358 from Manila and 773 from Zamboanga, around 150 of whom were scholars of ICAD,” Arslan said.

    Cankorur earlier claimed that members of the Fetullah Gulen or FETO, which was behind the failed coup in Turkey last year, have reached the Philippines. She said the “sinister” group is affiliated with schools and a business chamber.

    The NGO officials vowed to cooperate with Philippine authorities if the allegations made by the envoy will be investigated. But they also expressed confidence that the accusations will be debunked.

    They also expressed support for FETO’s principles of openness and tolerance among all people by offering secular educational opportunities in the Philippines regardless of religion or beliefs.

    They said affiliated schools are legally operating in various countries, including the United States, Belgium, France, Australia, Japan, South Africa and Germany.

    “We do not and have never had any links with any group involved in terror attacks.” ICAD and PDF said, adding they have never been involved in any criminal activities in the Philippines or elsewhere.

    Arslan said ICAD and PDF are not affiliated with any terrorist organization.

    “ICAD and PDF are open to providing any information about its operations and will do anything to clear its good name and reputation, which it has built through the hard work of its directors, officers and teachers,” the group said.

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