DAVAO CITY (PIA) -- National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) chairperson Allen Capuyan assured tribal leaders present at yesterday's Pre-SONA Forum at the SMX Convention Center that the government was working on the needed school facilities that can admit students from the suspended Salugpungan schools.
"I assure our tribal leaders that in due time, may ipapalit na facilities (facilities will be in place) for those affected," Capuyan said.
Tribal leaders led by Datu Joel Unad, chairperson of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Conference for Peace and Development (MIPCPD) brought to the attention of the cabinet secretaries present in the forum their intent to have the Salugpungan schools and even other private schools catering to indigenous peoples (IP) closed.
Datu Unad, in a press briefing after the forum, clarified that various IP groups lodged their complaints with the MIPCPD and the latter came up with a resolution expressing their intent for the closure of these schools.
The resolution was presented to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon who, after consolidating reports from the communities, forwarded collective sentiment of the IPs to the Department of Education (DepEd).
The report contained actual testimonies of Salugpungan teachers and learners.
This led to the issuance of a DepEd order last July 12 suspending 55 Salugpungan schools in Davao region and requiring them to show cause why the permit to operate and recognition granted to its schools should not be completely revoked.
Capuyan said Salugpungan schools may have reduced their number because tribal communities have become vocal and assertive in calling for the closure of these schools.
In the report submitted to the DepEd, IP learner Asenad Bago revealed that Salugpungan learners were forced to attend rallies in Davao and Kidapawan cities.
The report contained his narration about the NPA's practice of bringing them to rebel encampments where they watched communist propaganda films and video clips of NPA attacking military detachments.
The testimony also included Bago's frustration after learning that he could no longer transfer to a DepEd school and have his previous school years credited because the Salugpungan school where he studied for years was not registered with the DepEd.
Meanwhile, the DepEd order asked the Salugpungan schools to facilitate the enrolment of its students in nearby public schools to ensure the continuity of their learning.
Teachers of these Salugpungan schools whose employement may be affected are also asked to apply at nearby DepEd schools. (PIA-11)