DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Department of Education Region 11 said they will release the awaited decision on their probe of the 54 Salugpongan lumad community schools which they suspended last July.
This was announced by its spokesperson Genelito Atillo, after the Salugpongan officials and students conducted weekly pickets on what they say is the delay of their decision.
Atillo explained that they took time to investigate, as they formed an independent committee to look at the Salugpongan official’s response to the recommendation of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon to suspend the school for alleged “anti-government” and “recruitment” actions for the New People’s Army.
“We will be coming up with an order at the soonest possible time,” Atillo told Davao Today.
But the Salugpongan school’s executive director, Meggie Nolasco, said the DepEd may have already made their decision but is merely delaying the inevitable.
Nolasco pointed out how DepEd XI have rescheduled their dialogue a couple of times since July. When they held their dialogue on August 26, some regional officials attended a Senate hearing on the closure of the school. Nolasco also said they were not invited to the Senate hearing to air their side.
The school had said they submitted their position paper a week after the suspension order last July 22, and they have waited five weeks already for a decision.
“It’s only wordplay for them to use suspension as a test to shut us down. DepEd is siding with the military,” said Nolasco.
But Atillo clarified that the committee probing the Salugpongan case is independent from the representation during the Senate hearing.
Nolasco said they are ready to challenge the decision if DepEd orders the closure of the school.
She noted there was a lack of due process as the suspension order was issued without consulting or probing them right from the start, and was based on red-baiting allegations.
Some 1,500 students are enrolled under the 55 Salugpongan campuses this school year.
“We will not hesitate to expose DepEd’s anti-lumad stand,” Nolasco said. (davatoday.com)