Due to the order of the Department of Education to suspend 55 Lumad schools in Davao Region, Save Our Schools (SOS) Network opened the bakwit [evacuee] school once again at the University of the Philippines Diliman in order for the Lumad students to continue their studies this academic year
According to SOS Network, there are around 50 Lumad students accompanied by Lumad elders and 10 teachers who will join the bakwit school.
“Despite sa suspension [at] forcible closure of Department of Education sa aming paaralan, lalaban kami. Hindi ang DepEd o si Duterte ang magpapahinto sa mga batang ito para kamtin ang kanilang karapatan sa edukasyon. Kung ang paglaban namin sa edukasyon, pagdepensa sa aming lupang ninuno at [kung] para sa estadong ito ay sinasabi nilang rebelyon at training ground, kung ganyan ang ibig sabihin nila [ay] guilty kami. Training ground ang lumad school para sa isang makabayan, makamasa at siyentipikong estudyante.” said Rius Valle, spokesperson of SOS Network.
[“Despite suspensions and forcible closure of Department of Education of our schools, we are resolved to fight back. Not DepEd nor Duterte will deter these children to achieve their right to education. If our campaigns for education, defense of our ancestral lands are deemed by the state as rebellion and training grounds for rebellion, then we shall say that we are guilty. The lumad schools are training grounds for nationalist, mass-oriented, and scientific students.”]
Catherine Dalon, a grade 11 Lumad student, also shared what she felt about the opening of their class despite the attacks on their school.
“Ang pakiramdam ko po ngayon ay halong masaya dahil tinanggap kami ng UP. May mga taong nakikiisa samin. Masaya dahil matutuloy ang pag-aaral namin pero malungkot dahil naiwan yung lupang ninuno namin at patuloy na pinapasara mga schools namin, patuloy yung mga atake sa komunidad namin. Iniisip namin kailangan namin mag-aral mabuti, kailangan namin lumaban hindi lang para sa sarili naming kundi para sa mga kasama namin at para sa bayan.” Catherine Dalon said.
[“I feel mixed emotions right now, I feel happy because UP accepted us. There are people who are in solidarity with our cause. I am happy because we get to continue our studies but I feel sad at the same time because we left behind our ancestral lands and the closure of our schools continue, as well as the attacks in our communities. We realized that we need to study hard, we need to fight not for ourselves but also for our comrades and for our nation.”]
The SOS Network also called on different child rights groups, human rights and indigenous peoples rights advocates to support the bakwit school that will run until March 2020.