Malacañang on Tuesday came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte over his threat to bomb lumad (indigenous people) schools in Mindanao after the indigenous people joined an anti-administration protest during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte issued the threats as he linked the lumad schools to the rebellion against the government.
“The President notes that certain indigenous schools are being used to foment rebellion against the government. [He] warns them in the strongest terms to discontinue these actions; persistence will warrant appropriate government action,” Abella added.
“[Duterte] highlights the need to protect our youth and doing so entails ensuring they get the correct education that reinforces the right values that instill love of country and respect for our laws among others, not rebellion,” he added.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Tuesday blasted Duterte and called him a “madman” over his threat to bomb schools built for the lumad.
“To the Madman Duterte: Nice try. You thought you could still fool the people with your grandstanding and phrase-mongering. Having been rebuked by the people’s jeers, you threaten to drop bombs on the lumad schools. You threaten to kill the children. You are the lowest of the low,” the CPP said in a statement.
“You are a madman with bombs. You are a bully. An arrogant street thug intoxicated with power,” the communist rebel group added.
During a news conference after his second SONA, Duterte threatened to bomb lumad schools as they supposedly teach students to “rebel against government.”
The President said he would order the bombing of the lumad schools since they are functioning without the Education department’s authorization.
“The schools of lumad, they’re operating without the Department of Education’s permit. In their schools, they are teaching subversion, communism, and everything. Umalis kayo dyan, sabihin ko sa mga lumad. Bobombahan ko iyan, isali ko iyang mga istraktura [So better leave. I’ll tell the lumad now, leave because I will bomb those structures],” Duterte said