NGO To Collate Recorded Harassments Of IP Schools

The Save our Schools Network aims to collate all the recorded cases of harassments of Indigenous People's schools in Mindanao and submit it to the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the negotiating panels of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Government of the Philippines so that it can be considered in the fourth round of the talks.

Save Our Schools Network Southern Mindanao spokesperson Rius Valle said this is among the urgent recommendations of the group in conclusion of the fourth Mindanao Wide Conference held at Homitori Inn from March 15 to 17, 2017.

"Our target is to collate the cases of attack on schools so that these cases of attacks will be included in the talks," Valle said. He added that 87 attacks on schools were documented under the Rodrigo Duterte Administration when the unilateral ceasefire was implemented.

"This only means that the incidents do not mellow down," Valle said. He added that the last eight months of the Benigno Aquino Administration recorded 130 cases.

Meanwhile, Valle said aside from this urgent agenda, the SOS Network committee will lobby to different offices for important concerns like challenges of the lumad schools to get accreditation from concerned agencies.

Lead Convenor of the Save our Schools Mindanao Mercedez Arlene Perez Alonzo, in a press conference yesterday, said many schools have tried to get accreditation but were not given.

"They follow the set of requirements but then may idadagdag na naman. It's really crazy," she said.

She added that permits do not guarantee that the IP school will not be attacked, but they are still pushing to get permits to be recognized by government agencies so they can get fund support.

At the same time having a license means the students will not have to take additional exams to get to the next level of education.

Alonzo said they are set to look into the existing Department of Education order and recommend the congress for the review of the IP-framework.

She said SOS Network is also open to draft proposals to avail of programs of the government in support with the IP schools as National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) convenor Liza Maza said convergence mechanisms that the government can be utilized by IP schools. Maza said the group can draft proposals which may be adapted by NAPC.

"Definitely schools in various regions are gonna start their proposals that will be submitted sa NAPC, Maza did not say it will be approved. We have to undergo process and if we meet the requirements, and we followed the right form then of course we will be able to access funds, we also have to implement the project very well and liquidate it," Alonzo said.

She also added that the DSWD Undersecretary Mae Fe Templa also mentioned that the lumad schools may also apply for funding from the DSWD, through the agency's decentralization program.

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