MANILA, Philippines — Lumad schools in two Bukidnon towns have allegedly been targeted by the Army, with the teachers in one learning center ordered to report to the military and 13 members of the Parents Teachers Community Association of another, including village officials, rounded up by soldiers, a nongovernmental organization said.
However, the Save Our Schools Network said that, aside from the initial information relayed to it by their partners in the province, it has been unable to get updates because there is hardly any telecommunications signal in the remote communities hosting the schools run by the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc., or MISFI.
Last Thursday, March 1, SOS said members of the PTCA of the MISFI Academy in Barangay Digongan, Kitaotao town, where “illegaly arrested” by troops of the 88th Infantry Battalion and taken to the Army camp in Maramag.
Among those arrested were barangay captain Felimon Bangonan and village council members Paul Barrientos, Oloy Toledo, Villame Banggaan and Sedong Nasug.
The 13 were reportedly identified as alleged supporters of the New People’s Army by a hooded “rebel returnee” the soldiers had with them.
Four of the 13, including Bangonan, were released the next day. The rest, said SOS remain detained in Maramag. “The arrest was made without an arrest warrant and they are still detained without a formal complaint,” SOS said.
In San Fernando town, on the other hand, residents of Sitio Bayabas, Barangay Bonacao, including a lumad teacher assigned to the MISFI Academy in the community, were rounded up and taken to the military detachment in Barangay Bonacao, SOS said.
There, they were told that all teachers of the lumad school needed to report to the detachment.