DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao (CTCSM), a community college serving Lumad and farmer scholars in Maco, Davao de Oro province has filed an appeal on the order of closure issued by the Department of Education Region 11.
Administrators of CTCSM, in a statement, said that the closure order failed to consider its long-term service as a non-profit private school granted permit to operate its elementary and high school programs in June 2105 and the senior high school program in June 2017.
They were surprised with the issued order as the final submission of all applications for private schools announced by the DepEd Division Office in the Comval Private Schools Association Chat Group was moved to June 19.
“In the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the entire DepEd and President Duterte himself, seems to be in a quandary on how it would effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate to achieve Education for All under the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 on “inclusive and equitable quality education,” we would have expected an attitude of collaboration and expanding partnerships with ALL agents of action, whether public or private, big or small,” said Sr. Concepcion Gasang, chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
DepEd Regional Director Evelyn Fetalvero, in its May 21 letter, has affirmed the recommendation made by DepEd Davao de Oro to deny the application of CTCSM due to “incomplete submissions of documentary requirements and deficiencies in the implementation of the K to 12 curriculum”.
The agency’s order through its Quality Assurance Division recommended for the closure of the school and called the Division Office of Davao de Oro for the transfer of affected students in schools with government authority.
Continuing attacks against Lumad schools
On its Facebook page, the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network decried the forcible shutdown of the last Lumad school in Davao de Oro.
“Students, teachers, and parents continually face interrogation and threats from military elements, LGU officials, and even from the Department of Education, who should instead serve the needs of the Lumad youth,” SOS said.
According to the timeline which documented attacks on Lumad schools amid the community quarantine, parents and students of CTCSM were rounded up in a military camp in Nabunturan, Davao de Oro on March 15 to April 1 where they were forced to record scripted videos which were posted on social media and were forced to make false claims that teachers taught them to handle firearms.
On April 5, SOS cited that a student and his parent were held in a six-hour interrogation by policemen and military personnel. The student was threatened by enrolling in any Lumad school for the next school year.
On April 25, unidentified military men visited CTCSM graduates in their households.
CTCSM school administration decried accusations circulating online, which was also reflected on the Davao de Oro page, that the school was still holding classes and forcing students to farm in the course of the lockdown.
During the turnover of the 35 students to the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force, three unidentified persons barged into their campus and snooped around their premises.
“With the Anti-Terrorism Bill in place, attacks against Lumad schools, which DepEd wrongfully and maliciously tags as rebel schools, will only continue,” SOS Network added. (davaotoday.com)