Group slams DepEd-7 for erroneous claims vs USC on Lumad “rescue”
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Save Our Schools Network Cebu denounces the Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd-7) for stating that the University of San Carlos (USC) did not have a permit to conduct blended learning for the Lumad students.
In a statement, Prof. Regletto Imbong, convenor of Save Our Schools Network Cebu, accused the agency of stating blatant lies and insisted that the Lumad Bakwit School was approved by DepEd.
Earlier, Dr. Salustiano Jimenez, regional director of DepEd-7, said that the children from Davao del Norte and Sultan Kudarat would be considered as illegally enrolled if the USC administration could not present a permit to conduct such kind of blended learning.
Jimenez even said that the school has not provided DepEd-7 information about the presence of the Lumad Bakwit School that enrolled students who are not from Cebu and Central Visayas.
But Imbong said that the Lumad students even have their own Learners Reference Number (LRN), which is a 12-digit number assigned by the DepEd to students as they go through the basic education program.
He added that the modules that were used by the Lumad students were also provided by the DepEd, through the Malabuan High School and Bulakanon National High School, both in Makilala, North Cotabato, where the children are enrolled.
Imbong is also accusing Jimenez of collaborating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and neglecting his duty which is to protect and uphold the children’s right to education.
He also condemns the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for concluding that there is no permit for blended learning, even if the DepEd-7 stated that they are still set to investigate the matter.
Imbong described the Lumad Bakwit Schol as a tremendous effort of the Lumad people to fight the militarization of their community. He said that the effort is a symbol of determination to continue schooling despite the attacks against the Lumads.
The group also denounces all claims of kidnapping and warfare training which it claims to have no real evidence.
Due to this, Imbong calls on the immediate release of the Lumad 26 and to drop any charges filed against the Bakwit 7 or the seven individuals the police arrested during the supposed rescue operation last Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. /rcg
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