Groups seek DepEd’s help for Lumad teacher’s arrest

Aug. 25, 2016


DAVAO CITY – Indigenous People’s education advocates, on Thursday, August 25 sought help from the regional office of the Department of Education to prove the innocence of the arrested Lumad school teacher.

Amelia Pond, then teacher and now development officer of the Salugpongan Ta ‘tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. (STTICLCI) has been arrested by police forces in Cebu City charged with murder, noon of August 19.

“DepEd can tell that Pond is our development worker for years,” said Sarika Calimbo, STTICLCI Field Operations Office.

Calimbo said however, that “there is still no chance for negotiation with the regional director today, but we will seek for their help for Pond to be released from detention.”

She said DepEd regional director Atty. Alberto Escobarte was on meeting.

Pond’s arrest was based on a warrant not on her name, but of “Adelfa Toledo” who has criminal charges filed at the Nabunturan RTC Branch 3 in Compostela Valley.

The Save Our Schools (SoS) network, a lumad school advocates group, said that DepEd can help prove Pond’s innocence by issuing certificate of recognition of the identity of Pond.

Rius Valle, convener of SoS in Southern Mindanao said, “for a long time, she (Pond) had been part of the research on IP curriculum of the DepEd.”

“Pond took a big part in formulating the curriculum that the school is using now,” Valle said.

Valled added that Pond also attended several consultation workshops with the DepEd, may it be in the regional or national activities.

The DepEd Order No. 32, series of 2015 or the Indigenous Peoples Education Curriculum Framework has been issued by the said agency on August 2015.

The order is said to be “culturally-appropriate and responsive curriculum is anchored on the defining features of the indigenous communities”

Valle’s group together with Lumads who are now staying in United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound held picket outside the regional office of DepEd, to “knock” at the office for assistance, and “not to protest.”

Aside from the regional office, Valle said they are also calling for Education Secretary Leonor Briones, “to give attention to the illegal arrest of (Pond).”

Valle added that the arrest of Pond also affects the renewal of the permits of the school given that she is one of the key persons facilitating the renewals.

Continuing attacks Vs Lumad schools

The STTICLCI also brought the issue on the continuing “militarization” in their schools.

“As we commit ourselves to provide education to the Lumad communities, our schools continue to face harassment and human rights violations. [I am] glad that the peace talks push through and there’s ceasefire from both parties,” Calimbo said.

She said on August 20 to 22, military troops stayed inside their campus in New Bataan.

“We thought that they were going back to their barracks. If there are talks, why are they still encamped in the communities?”

The SOS Network in Southern Mindanao, in their reports gathered from Lumad community leader, said that military troops are conducting census in the community, hamletting, food blockade with a minimum of five kilos of rice.

“Despite the ceasefire, there are still violations committed by military forces,” Valle said.

He said that some government troops “are trying to sabotage the peace talks despite the sincerity of President Rodrigo Duterte and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).” (

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