DAVAO City — The Salugpongan Council denied that it has links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
The Salugpongan Ta ‘tanu Igkanugon Council, as recognized by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), is composed of tribal leaders who manifested their intent to establish a Lumad school in the hinterlands of Talaingod in Davao del Norte.
It was the Salugpongan Council who initiated an effort to establish lumad schools to educate the IPs in far-flung areas “for them to know how to read and write and not to take any participation with the communist.”
“Since 1965, our leaders Datu Doloman and Datu Guibang have asked the Department of Education to help us build a school but it never happened,” said Salugpongan Council member Datu Kaylo Bontolan.
Datu Kaylo Bontolan said since the establishment of the Salugpongan schools in Talaingod, it became the center of the lumad communities because of lumad education.
Datu Kaylo Bontolan in a press conference Friday inside Haran compound said the recent statement of the NCIP Davao del Norte against the Salugpongan schools were baseless allegation.
“Before then, we have obtained documents that could support our claim that the schools are all legal. In fact no less than former DepEd secretary Br. Armin Luistro have recognized the Salupungan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center, Inc. for the operation of Kindergarten, and Grades 1 to 6,” added Datu kaylo.
The Department of Education under its Departement Order 42, S. 2004 states that under its mandate, Indigenous People (IP) schools have been encouraged to register with the DepED for mainstreaming in the educational system.
Datu Kaylo clarified that Salugpongan has been recognized by the NCIP Region XI as Tribal Council of elders in 2003, and it is entitled to all rights, benefits, and privileges granted under Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples’Rights Act (IPRA).
He added long before the creation of IPRA law the Salugpongan Tribal Council existed and has above power than the Indigenous people mandatory representative.
“Before the IPRA Law created, we existed. As Manobo tribal council recognized by the NCIP, they gave us power and it is on documentation” said Datu Kaylo.
Taking cue from NCIP recognition, Datu Kaylo said the tribal council of Salugpongan has “a right to install schools which since then needed to educate the tribe.”
Datu Kaylo also added the Salugpongan Council and the Salugpongan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Learning Center Inc. followed all necessary process and protocols to establish the legality of the alternative schools as per required by the Department
“We have papers to prove our legality. That’s why we wonder why the military and the NCIPare so noisy when they are not even the main agency for education concerns” said Datu Kaylo. (davaotoday.com)