Lumad schools suffer continuing attacks under Duterte govt’s 1st year

Lumad schools continued to suffer threats, harassments, intimidations, vilifications, red-tagging and surveillance in the first year of the Duterte government, an independent network reported.

Last June 20, a paramilitary trooper named Rodel “Ang-angoy” Butanlog fired at a Lumad school in Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte, injuring a Grade 7 student on his scrotum according to Save Our Schools (SOS) Network.

The incident is the latest in a long list of human rights violations against Southern Mindanao Region Lumad schools that include 65 other cases affecting 50 schools, 175 families and 1,630 students, SOS said.

SOS added there have been five incidents of extrajudicial killings related to the operations of the schools perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its paramilitary units in the past 12 months.

“The Duterte government’s all-out war policy and subsequent declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao also resulted to intensified attacks against our schools,” Ramel Miguel, Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Assistant Basic Education Coordinator for Davao del Norte, in a statement said.

“Troops of the AFP occupied our schools and terrorized ours teachers, students and community members,” Miguel said.

Extrajudicial killing, surveillance, closure threats, use of civilians as shields, destruction and divestment of school property, filing of trumped-up charges, illegal or arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and torture are among the other violations reported by the network.

SOS said the violations have been perpetrated by the 25th, 26th,  46th,  60th,  66th,  68th, 72nd,  and  the 84th infantry battalions of Philippine Army under the Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP, along with the paramilitaries Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit and Alamara.

A comparative report released during the 4th SOS Mindanao-Wide Conference held last March 15 to 17 in Davao City said there have been 96 cases of human rights violations and attacks against Lumad schools in the last eight months of the Benigno Aquino regime while there have been 60 similar incidents in the first seven months of the Duterte government. (BaretangBikolnon.com)

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