• PHILIPPINES: Community schools for indigenous children being shut down by Department of Education in Caraga region
    • No justice for first EJK victim under Aquino – 1 Update
    • Karapatan, kin of political prisoners thank showbiz personalities for support – 1 Update

PHILIPPINES: Community schools for indigenous children being shut down by Department of Education in Caraga region

karapatan-updates@googlegroups.com: Jul 06 06:51PM +0800

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-082-2015

6 July 2015

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PHILIPPINES: Community schools for indigenous children being shut down by Department of Education in Caraga region

ISSUES: Childs right; indigenous people; rule of law

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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes with deep concern about the endorsement by the Department of Education Region XI to shut down at least 24 accredited community schools, which will affect 2,896 Lumad children. Furthermore, concern is also being expressed at the decision to allow
military personnel to operate as para-teachers in public schools set to replace the closed community schools. The students are at risk of being drawn into armed conflict due to the presence of soldiers.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights (KARAPATAN) and Bulatlat)

On 12 May 2015, in a letter addressed to Alberto Escobarte, Department of Education (DepEd) Region XI Director, Josephine Fadul, DepEd Division of Davao del Norte Superintendent, has endorsed the closure of at least 24 schools, which will affect 2,896 Lumad children of Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land) (STTICLC) and Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. Academy (MISFI Academy).

A total of not less than 146 Lumad community schools provide formal and non-formal education to children in various indigenous communities in Mindanao and the majority implement DepEd-accredited formal education. They also provide literacy and numeracy programs and introduce scientific agriculture while strengthening the Lumad’s indigenous culture and traditions.

Since 2011, a total of 82 incidents of state-instigated attacks involving 57 community schools and day care centers in Mindanao have been documented and reported by the Children’s Rehabilitation Conflict. These community schools and centers adopted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Directive 25 or Guidelines on the Conduct of AFP Activities Inside or Within the Premises of School or Hospital. Under both directives, military elements are allowed to conduct “civil-military operations” as long as the AFP has a written request and school authorities have given their approval. Since the issuance of the Department Order, an increase in the number of military attacks on community schools has been noted.

The situation over a decade ago was that public schools were built in town centers, far from upland communities, compelling Lumad children to walk for hours every day to attend their classes. Children unable to endure the difficulty chose not to attend these schools. With more and more children opting not to go to school, Lumad elders in Mindanao, with the support of non-government and church-based organizations, worked hard to put up schools in their own community 10 years ago.

DepEd Division of Davao del Norte Superintendent Josephine Fadul has also requested permission to build public schools with military men as para-teachers, in place of the community schools being shut down.

However, these public schools will not serve the purpose of educating Lumad children. The trauma and fear that they have experienced and that the military men have instilled in them in a series of military attacks will
negate the possibility of Lumad children learning.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The Alternative Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV) was established in 2004. It is the first alternative school for indigenous youth in Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur. The Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao Sur (TRIFPSS) and other indigenous organisations helped set it up. The B’laan Literacy School and Learning Center (BLSLC) was established 2008 in the remote area of Saranggani. This was a project initiated by center for Lumad advocacy and services in partnership (CLANS) with association for the rights of children in Southeast Asia (Arcsea). They are alternative schools providing education for indigenous people.

The STTICLC in Compostela Valley was built to serve the Lumad. It is a community-based learning center, which was established with the help of Rural Missionary of Philippines and has been accredited by DepED. MISFI Academy provides basic educational tools in a unique educational module in the Moro and indigenous communities from preschool to Grade 7. Both the Learning Center and the Academy operate in different parts of Davao del Norte.

The Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s counter-insurgency program, compels the use of schools as military camps and outposts to store armaments and personal effects. Continued use of schools in this manner, however, damages infrastructure. Due to terror brought about by military presence and the fear of impending danger, students and teachers suffer anxiety. Military operations have disrupted not only the operation of these schools, but also the lives and livelihoods of Lumad people in general.

The Save our Schools Network had a dialogue with DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro last year to inform him of the continuing use of these schools by military and to have the Secretary revoke DepEd Memorandum 221 series of 2013 or the “Guidelines on the Protection of Children during Armed Conflict”, which not only continues militarization of schools but has increased violations.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case. The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people.

To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear …………….,

PHILIPPINES: Community schools for indigenous children being shut down by
Department of Education in Caraga region

Number of affected children that will be affected of the school closure:
More or less 2,896 Lumad children

Date of incident: 12 May 2015 up to present

Place of incident: CARAGA Region

I am writing to raise my concern on the case of closing schools for indigenous people.

On 12 May 2015, in a letter addressed to Alberto Escobarte, Department of Education (DepEd) Region XI Director, Josephine Fadul, DepEd Division of Davao del Norte Superintendent, has endorsed the closure of at least 24 schools, which will affect 2,896 Lumad children of Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Center (Unity in Defense of Ancestral Land) (STTICLC) and Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. Academy (MISFI Academy).

I learned that a total of not less than 146 Lumad community schools provide formal and non-formal education to children in various indigenous communities in Mindanao and the majority implement DepEd-accredited formal education. They also provide literacy and numeracy programs and introduce scientific agriculture while strengthening the Lumad’s indigenous culture and traditions.

I am in the opinion that education is for all. The indigenous children need not to be deprived to education and at schools soon to be close.

Since 2011, a total of 82 incidents of state-instigated attacks involving 57 community schools and day care centers in Mindanao have been documented and reported by the Children’s Rehabilitation Conflict. These community schools and centers adopted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Directive 25 or Guidelines on the Conduct of AFP Activities Inside or Within the Premises of School or Hospital. Under both directives, military elements are allowed to conduct “civil-military operations” as long as the AFP has a written request and school authorities have given their approval. Since the issuance of the Department Order, an increase in the number of military attacks on community schools has been noted.

The situation over a decade ago was that public schools were built in town centers, far from upland communities, compelling Lumad children to walk for hours every day to attend their classes. Children unable to endure the difficulty chose not to attend these schools. With more and more children opting not to go to school, Lumad elders in Mindanao, with the support of non-government and church-based organizations, worked hard to put up schools in their own community 10 years ago.

DepEd Division of Davao del Norte Superintendent Josephine Fadul has also requested permission to build public schools with military men as para-teachers, in place of the community schools being shut down.

However, these public schools will not serve the purpose of educating Lumad children. The trauma and fear that they have experienced and that the military men have instilled in them in a series of military attacks will
negate the possibility of Lumad children learning.

I urge the Department of Education act on this issue considering that education of indigenous people. I am disturbed for schools use for military purposes and that soldiers will act as educators. I urge you to ensure this issue to resolve immediately.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

3. Bro. Armin A. Luistro FSC
Secretary
Department of Education
DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue
Pasig City, Metro Manila
PHILIPPINES
Fax: + 63 2 636-4876

4. Ms. Leila de Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
E-mail: soj@doj.gov.ph

5. Attorney Pinky Grace P. Pabelic
Acting Regional Director
National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Region XIII
Intino Building, J.C. Aquino Avenue, Butuan City, 8600
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 085 342-4458

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia <ua@ahrc.asia>)
Read this UAC online

Visit our website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

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Asian Human Rights Commission
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Tel: +(852) 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) 2698-6367
Web: www.humanrights.asia

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Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders in the Philippines to advance women’s rights as human rights. Tanggol Bai is formed to further develop the capability of women human rights defenders to protect and advance women’s, human and peoples’ rights while giving special attention to the rights of WHRDs; to provide a venue by which WHRDs can give mutual assistance to one another especially to those who are facing immediate threats; provide information and facilitate HR education to WHRDs to even better sensitize them to violations of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights; through common effort, enable WHRDs to effectively forward policies and legislations, fight for their rights and generate resources for the needs of their human rights advocacy; and network with other human rights organizations in the country and abroad.

Contact us at:

2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Barangay Central District, Diliman, Quezon City
Telephone: (632) 434 2837
Fax: (632) 435 4146
E-mail: tanggolbayi@gmail.com

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No justice for first EJK victim under Aquino

publicinfo: Jul 06 02:36PM +0800

Press Statement
July 6, 2015

Contact Person:

Cristina Palabay, secretary general (+639173162831)
Angge Santos, media liaison (+639189790580)

No justice for first EJK victim under Aquino

“BS Aquino’s only effort on the case of Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under his reign, was to lie before the public during his first State of the Nation Address that Baldomero’s case is already resolved. With his last SONA coming up, BS Aquino could not brag about human rights as hundreds more were killed after Baldomero,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said on the fifth year of Fernando Baldomero’s killing.

Baldomero was killed on July 5, 2010 by suspected members of the paramilitary Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), five days after BS Aquino took office. He was shot in front of
his house in Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Bigaa, Lezo, Aklan. A member of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, Baldomero was municipal councilor of Lezo town and chairperson of Bayan Muna–Aklan chapter, and coordinator of Makabayan Coalition.

“It was around this time that counterinsurgency program was transitioning from Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya to Oplan Bayanihan,” Palabay said.

“The case against the suspect of Baldomero’s killing was archived due to the government’s failure to serve the warrant of arrest. Worse, a colleague, Romeo Capalla was killed by the same paramilitary group four
years later on March 2014,” Palabay said. Both Capalla and Baldomero were jailed for trumped-up charge of arson during the Arroyo administration in 2005. Both were released after their case was dismissed. They were included in the 5th Infantry Battalion’s Order of Battle list.

Another victim of extrajudicial killing who recently reached another year of injustice is Willem Geertman. On July 3, 2012, Geertman, a Dutch missionary, was shot in front of his office in Angeles City, Pampanga. He
was executive director of Alay Bayan-Luzon Inc. He organized peasant communities in Central Luzon and helped them in their plight against destructive mining and anti-people government programs. He was against the Aurora-Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) project of the Angara’s, a political dynasty in Aurora province. The APECO project displaced the peasants, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples of Aurora.

Only one of the many suspects in the shooting of Geertman, Marvin Marzan, was arrested and detained. Marzan and colleagues are said to have been ordered by the police to kill Geertman. Up to now, the case is still on trial and other masterminds are still on the loose. “The resolution of Baldomero and Geertman’s case, and all other cases of human rights violations, are hopeless while BS Aquino is in power,” Palabay said.

The cases of Baldomero and Geertman were filed and will be tried during the International People’s Tribunal on July 16 to 18 in Washington, DC.

“Our hearts are enraged with the continuing impunity as our colleagues are being targeted. With the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan, which killed the likes of Baldomero and Geertman, BS Aquino is considered as people’s enemy. Like Gloria Arroyo, once Aquino leaves his office, he should not go
unpunished,” Palabay concluded. ###

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PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts.,
Central District,Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
1101Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.

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Karapatan, kin of political prisoners thank showbiz personalities for support

publicinfo: Jul 06 11:06AM +0800

Press Statement
July 6, 2015

Contact Person:
Cristina Palabay, secretary general (+639173162831)
Angge Santos, media laiason (+639189790580)

Karapatan, kin of political prisoners thank showbiz personalities for support

Karapatan and relatives of political prisoners lauded the efforts of The Actors Guild of the Philippines and the Film Artists Group led by human rights advocate and artist Maria Isabel Lopez and beauty queen Evangeline Pascual in mounting the successful benefit exhibit of showbiz personalities for the campaign and welfare fund of political prisoners in the Philippines.

The exhibit dubbed “PortrAYAL (LAYA): Portraits for Freedom” opened on July 5 at the ART Center in Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City. Karapatan and relatives of political prisoners, as beneficiaries of the said project, attended the opening. Former political prisoner Rep. Neri Colmenares, Sen Francis “Chiz” Escudero, former Rep. Liza Maza, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, actor Pen Medina, scriptwriter Ricky Lee also attended the exhibit opening to lend their support for the project.

Lopez and Pascual, officers of the Guild, enjoined several showbiz personalities who are visual artists themselves to contribute their paintings for the said benefit exhibit. Among those who contributed their
artworks were: Heart Evangelista, Vanessa “Bangs” Garcia, Jao Mapa, Mara Lopez, Melissa Mendez, Lani Lobangco, Lotlot de Leon, Cris Villanueva, Dranreb Belleza, Nadia Montenegro, Heber Bartolome, Ernie Garcia, Baron Geisler, Cesar Montano, Louie Ignacio, Rosanna Roces, Precy de Guzman-Brady, among others. The exhibit runs until July 7.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, in the opening program, thanked the artists for their support to the political prisoners and human rights causes in the country. “Political prisoners defend and uphold the
people’s democratic rights, including the freedom of expression and the right to uphold and fight for their political beliefs. Peace consultants Alan Jazmines, Eduardo Sarmiento, Renante Gamara and Adelberto Silva are artists at the forefront of the people’s movement for the defense of these rights and for genuine change,” she stated.

Nikki Gamara, daughter of political prisoner Renante Gamara, said “It is a comfort to us relatives that the support for the release of my father and all political prisoners is gaining ground. We highly appreciate their
solidarity through their artworks and encouraging words.”

On July 24 to 25, Karapatan and the End Impunity Alliance are scheduled to mount another exhibit of portraits of political prisoners by renowned social realists such as Neil Doloricon and Egay Fernandez, feminist artists from Kasibulan and young activist-artists at the Maximillan Gallery, Po’s Building, Tomas Morato corner Scout Madriñan, Quezon City. ###

———————————————————————
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
———————————————————————
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts.,
Central District, Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES
1101Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

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