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A New People’s Army fighter guards a perimeter as Lumad children watch a cultural presentation during an event of the Communist Party of the Philippines somewhere in the hinterlands of Misamis Oriental. File photo by Cong B. Corrales

Communist Party of the Philippines warns government: ‘Closing of tribal schools could boomerang’

By Jigger J. Jerusalem
Correspondent .

SHUTTING down learning institutions that cater to the Indigenous People in Mindanao would have an effect on the decades-old armed conflict being waged by the New People’s Army as there is a danger that those affected by the closure will join the revolutionary movement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said.

Contrary to the aims of the military, “the order to close the community schools will only succeed in further inciting the Lumad people to join the people’s resistance against the tyrannical and fascist Duterte government,” the CPP said in a statement.

It said the closing of tribal schools will add to the government’s already anti-lumad policies such as the military occupation of communities, grabbing ancestral lands to pave the way for mining operations and expansion of plantations, and incessant red-tagging of their organizations.

“By ordering the closure of these community schools, the Duterte regime is teaching the Lumad people and youth by negative example why the armed struggle is just and why joining the NPA is necessary for their quest for democracy and social justice,” the CPP added.

The order carried out by the Department of Education (DepEd) upon the recommendation of the National Security Adviser Security Hermogenes Esperon Jr., vice-chair of the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Esperon’s recommendation was based on his report alleging that the schools have deviated from DepEd guidelines and taught their students’ supposed anti-government propaganda.

In the Davao region, at least 55 schools run and managed by Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc. are likely to be closed after DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones ordered for their suspension.

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