KITAOTAO, Bukidnon – Mayor Lorenzo Gawilan, Jr. said he did not approve of a village captain’s move to close the operations of a community school here for indigenous people pupils.
“Why will the school be closed? It is for the good of the community, especially for the youth’s education,” Gawilan said.
Milagros Maglunsod-Tan, education program coordinator of the Davao-based Mindanao Interfaith School Foundation Academy, which has a branch in Barangay White Culaman, this town, said they filed a blotter report against Barangay Captain Felipe Cabugnason who tagged their school as a school owned by the New People’s Army.
Maglunsod-Tan quoted Cabugnason as having said, “this school is illegal. We will close this down in front of the people of White Culaman.”
Gawilan said Cabugnason’s decision to close the school “must be prevented.”
Earlier, 13 civilians in the area were arrested after the Philippine Army accused them as NPA members.
In a dialogue attended by MISFI Academy, Mayor Gawilan and several councilors, and rights advocates who visited the area, the group agreed to file appropriate legal action against Cabugnason and to form an independent investigative body.
Gawilan said the nongovernment organizations like MISFI “should be able to continue providing services like health and education in Kitaotao.”
Gawilan said, “there must be a memorandum of agreement or understanding” with the Barangay Captain of White Culaman and concerned groups so that the projects of NGOs in Kitaotao will continue.
Gawilan also clarified that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police will not be part of the investigative body.(davaotoday.com)