DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said teaching communism in the country is not bad.
Padilla told reporters during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang on Friday that students in colleges learn about communism while books on the subject matter are not prohibited.
“Now, it is not bad to teach communism per se because we in college learned about it. We read books about Marxism, Leninism, Socialism, and the like,” Padilla said.
He added that learning communism and reading books on the subject matter is part of the liberal education that is being implemented in the Philippines.
But he also clarified that brainwashing of the young minds that is wrong and is not acceptable especially to the government.
“But if you target very young minds, vulnerable minds and try to sway them to a certain kind of thinking, that is like brainwashing. ‘Yun po ang mali dito,” he pointed out.
Brainwashing of young children, aside from the lack of permits to operate is the reason why President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to get rid of lumad schools, Padilla said.
“Sa murang edad, dapat ang binibigay mo na aral sa mga bata ay ‘yung tama. Ano ‘yung mga tama na ‘yun: Fear of God, love of country, love of family, the appreciation of the correct values that you want your citizens to have,” he said.
Such correct values, Padilla added, is not being taught in lumad schools.
“And these schools are not teaching that. This is an issue that has been going on since before the election. And you know that I’m sure of it. It was an issue that was escalated and it was exaggerated by many cause-oriented groups whose minds and line of thinking we cannot fathom because it’s so evil,” Padilla said.
The government, particularly the military, has been accusing lumad schools of being established by the communist-led New People’s Army, an allegation that has been denied by lumad school administrators and teachers.
In the same press briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag also confirmed that there are “left-leaning” lumad schools that do not have the permit to operate as stipulated by the Department of Education.
Banaag identified the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Inc. in CARAGA Region as one of them and refused to get the permit from the DepED.
“There are three main groups of left-oriented indigenous people schools according to the Department of Education. These are the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development, Inc. or the Alcadev; second, the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services, Inc. or the Clans; and third, the Salugpungan Community Learning Center,” she said.
She said CLANS was also given by DepED three months to comply with its requirements.
But the government’s claim that lumad schools are operating without permits had already been countered by leaders, teachers, and support groups, as they presented documents from the DepED, particularly on Alternative Learning System and permits from local government units indicating that lumad schools are legally operating in Mindanao.
A day after Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address, lumad leaders Jong Monzon, secretary general of PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao and Eufemia Cullamat, spokesperson of Lumad group KASALO in CARAGA Region countered the claims of Duterte that lumad schools are being run by the NPAs.
Lumad schools, they emphasized, are established by lumad organizations and parents with the aim of providing education to children, especially in far-flung areas.
Monzon and Cullamat also decried the attacks and military harassments on lumad schools that were stepped up during the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
They also urged Duterte to listen to the stories of lumad leaders, teachers, and students to comprehend deeply the real situation of lumad communities in Mindanao, as they expressed concern over the plan of the President to destroy their schools.
The President is being fed with wrong information as to the nature and purpose of the lumad schools in Mindanao by his top military advisers, they added. (davaotoday.com)