PRESS STATEMENT: Lumad school denounces attacks against IP Rights via Martial Law

COMMUNITY TECHNICAL COLLEGE OF SOUTHEASTERN MINDANAO INC.
Purok 6, Lapu Lapu, Compostela Valley Province
October 11, 2018
PRESS STATEMENT

LUMAD SCHOOL DENOUNCES DUAL ATTACKS AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S RIGHTS AS WELL AS DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS VIA MARTIAL LAW

The Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao, Inc.(CTCSM), a member of Save Our Schools network, denounces the series of harassments perpetrated by AFP intelligence forces against members of its institutions.

In February 2018, a former non-teaching personnel of CTCSM, was illegally arrested and detained by 71st IB soldiers and officers for a whole day. Upon interrogation, he was accused of being an NPA, which he denied. He was released only upon the intercession of CTCSM staff, students and the Bgy. Captain of Bgy. Lapu-lapu.

On August 23, 2018, three MISFI college scholars residing at the CTCSM dormitories were accosted by personnel and officers of the 71st IB. They were interrogated overnight, during which the interrogators tried to force them to admit to being NPAs. They explained they were students, and in fact requested to be released because they had an exam that day.

As a private educational institution catering primarily to lumad scholars, CTCSM launched a series of Thanksgiving outreach service delivery activities in lumad communities. This was in celebration of its 5th year founding anniversary in October.

On October 5, 2018, at around 2 pm, a team of CTCSM administrators, faculty, and students visited lumad families to render health and cultural services in Kidapawan, North Cotabato. According to our administrative personnel who was with the team, Ma’am Cora Larrobis, they noticed a blue Toyota Revo with license plate number XFK 795 tailing the CTCSM van at around 4:30 pm.

On October 7, enroute to Davao City, the blue Revo continued to follow them from the moment they left Kidapawan at 6 am till noon. Fearing for their safety, they sought refuge with a church institution in Davao City.

Our institution is legally registered and recognized by the Department of Education, having been conferred a permit-to-operate an Integrated Basic Education (IBED) Program for the School Year 2018-2019. Our preschool program is likewise registered with the Maco municipal DSWD.

We, in partnership with the Barangay Council of Bgy. Lapu-lapu, are beneficiaries of the DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS water project. We are beneficiaries several times over of a number of local corporate social responsibility programs, and international grants, including the German Embassy. We have not been spared of the unabated vilification attacks waged by the AFP bent on perpetuating the anti-people and anti-democratic program that is the Duterte-instigated Martial Law.

We believe that attacks on lumad schools are attacks on the democratic rights of indigenous peoples who, for centuries, have borne the worst brunt of exploiters of the richness of their ancestral domains.

We, together with our supporters, allies and friends, stand by our primary mandate to uphold and protect the right of lumad children to education.

We are service providers.

We are rights advocates.

We are human rightsdefenders.

If these recent series of harassment attempts against our personnel, staff and students is meant to silence our voice, we take courage from the multitude of freedom-loving Filipinos who #StandWithTheLumad.We shall not be cowed. We condemn the continuing attacks on schools. We say no to Martial Law.###

Ref: SOPHIA FLOR PEREZ
CTCSM School Administrator
0920-9658500

MARIA CORA LAROBISCTCSM
Senior High School Asst. Coordinator
0945-4713796

Source: Save Our Schools Network Facebook page

Date: October 12, 2018