(UPDATED) A Facebook post this morning from Professor Sarah Raymundo of the University of the Philippines Diliman refuted the claims of Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones that the Lumad schools did not have permits.

A lie?

Answering to media interviews on the suspension order of permits to operate of 55 Lumad schools in the last few days, Briones has repeatedly said that “Salupongan did not receive permits to operate last year.”

The reason Briones gave was that Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center Inc. (Salugpongan) did not comply with the requirements for any of the schools. (As of posting, MT did not get a response from DepEd or Salugpongan on what these requirements that were not complied with.)

In one interview, she said the department cannot technically close the Lumad schools because “we cannot close what has not been legally existing,” referring again to the school’s lack of permits last year.

Raymundo, however, disproved this claim and attached photos of 19 permits to operate of Salupongan from DepEd Region XI.

“Department of Education Secretary Liling Briones is being radio interviewed by Ted Failon and she lies through her teeth about the Lumad schools that her very own Department closed down. She claims that these Lumad schools do not have permits. Dep Ed chose to close down Lumad schools instead of granting permits in time for the opening of classes. Lumad schools have been dutifully following Dep Ed requirements. Now this government shuts them down and lies about permits. I have always approached education as a way to build bridges especially for marginalized populations. But powerful people choose to build walls. What a shame. Build bridges, not walls!” said Raymundo in her post.

Raymundo used the hashtags #LilingLies #SaveLumadSchools #BuildBridgesNotWalls.

The post got shared 252 times after two hours.

The post included photos of permits to operate for the following Salugpongan Schools:

  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten in Purok 5-A, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten in Inaloy, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Km 30, Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Nalubas, Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Panga-an, Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Anahaw, 35, Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Lawaan, Taytayan, Cateel, Davao Oriental
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Patong, Malibago, Cateel, Davao Oriental
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Purok II Letter V, Upper Ulip, Monkayo, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Pag-asa, Mt. Diwata, Monkayo, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Purok 3 Manansalan, Compostela, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Danawan, Manurigao, New Bataan, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 1-6 in Uduan, Manurigao, New Bataan, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 7-10 in Uduan, Manurigao, New Bataan, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Kindergarten, Grades 7-10 in Cambudlot, San Miguel, Compostela, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Grades 7-10 in Km 30, Purok 4-B Mangayon, Compostela, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Grades 7-10 in Km 30, Purok 28 Spur 2, Ngan, Compostela, Compostela Valley
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Grades 7-10 in Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte
  • Renewal for AY 2018-2019 for Grades 7-10 in Tibucag, Talaingod, Davao Del Norte

The permits to operate were signed by DepEd Region XI Regional Director Atty. Alberto T. Escobarte.

If and when Briones is referring to the Lumad schools not having permits this year, that is because the DepEd did not issue them permits.

Replying to a former Schools Division Superintendent on whether Salugpongan complied with the requirements, Raymundo said she knew they did as part of her extension research.

“They submitted the requirements more than two months ago. These requirements are not very complicated, in fact Lumad schools have been compliant and have acquired permits in the past. The question now is this: Why at the height of military persecution of Lumad schools—red tagging, hamletting, harassment and killings of Lumad students, volunteer teachers— is DepEd cannot provide enabling conditions and support for Lumad schools? Why were the submitted requirements two months ago denied permits? Are there new requirements they imposed? I will let DepEd talk about, even if I know exactly what these new requirements not required in the past and not required of other schools are. In other words, DepEd does not stand with Lumad school, it is not even neutral but an enabler of state repression, which is very sad and enraging,” explained Raymundo.

 

And a white lie?

Briones also said that out of 55 schools, only 11 were applying as other schools have stopped operating due to lack of students.

Save our Schools Network lead convenor Eule Bonganay, however, said in their group’s protest at the DepEd main office yesterday that military and paramilitary groups have forcibly closed the schools and even forced the community at gunpoint to destroy some of the school buildings in several villages in Davao Del Norte and Compostela Valley, resulting to only 11 of 55 schools in the Davao region remaining in operation.

Salugpongan said they have complained to the DepEd about this, but instead of addressing this concern, they received a suspension of their permits to operate from DepEd.

The group also said that 80 Lumad schools in Mindanao have been shut down since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.

SOS Network trooped to DepEd main office to protest Lumad schools’ closure. Photo by Akira Liwanag

 

 

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