DepEd suspends 55 lumad schools in Davao

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Davao City (CNN Philippines, July 13) — The Department of Education (DepEd) Region 11 has ordered the suspension of the “permit to operate” of 55 lumad schools across the Davao region.

The suspension order against schools operated and owned by the Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers was issued on July 12,2019 and was signed by Doctor Evelyn Fetalvero, Officer-in-charge (OIC) Regional Director of DepEd Region 11.

The Salugpungan schools were established to give IP groups in remote areas access to education. The first school was established in Bukidnon and spread across Mindanao.

The order to suspend the schools were based on an instruction of Secretary Leonor Briones to suspend schools who have been operating only with a permit for their recognition status.

DepEd 11 spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said the basis for suspending these schools was also based on reports submitted to the department by National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, chairperson of the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

Esperon's report alleged that the institution was teaching "left-leaning ideologies", encouraging the students to rebel against the government, and using children for rallies. The school's modules were also reportedly not in accordance with DepEd's curriculum.

The DepEd will facilitate the enrollment of affected pupils to nearby public schools where they can continue their education. Teachers are also encouraged to apply at nearby DepEd-run public schools subject to compliance with set requirements.

According to the DepEd spokesperson, the suspension order has already been received by Maria Eugenia Nolasco, Executive Director of Salugpungan Ta’ Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers.

The school's officials and staffs will be given five days to reply on why their permit to operate should not be revoked.

Davao City-based journalist Ruth Palo contributed to this story.