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CHR asks DepEd to re-examine closure of Lumad schools in Davao

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to re-examine the continued closure of Lumad schools in Davao region.

CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said that any allegation that the Lumad schools are being used as tools for recruitment for rebel groups “need to go through the proper channels and due process.”

“This applies to other kinds of rumors or allegations against these schools for indigenous people. Accusations and malicious misinformation can lead to harassment, disenfranchisement, and needless violence. The methods in which the government addresses security risks should not lead to the creation of new ones, especially because both children and IPs (indigenous people) are vulnerable sectors of society,” she said in a statement Monday, October 7.

She said that it is part of the government’s responsibility to ensure that the children, who are also IP, are able to properly exercise their right to education.

“We call on the DepEd to re-examine these closures and to seek open dialogue with Lumads communities,” Pimentel-Gana said.

She said the DepEd needs to determine whether there are enough schools near Lumad communities, and if these schools are capable of addressing the needs of those in their jurisdiction.

In Davao City alone, the local government led by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, asked the DepEd to close 11 Salugpungan schools, citing a written report about the school allegedly teaching the students how to use firearms and their supposed indoctrination of anti-government propaganda. #

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