DAVAO CITY – The indigenous people and farmers group threatened to initiate a huge protest if the education department fails to take action on their plight in their communities within one month.
This followed after about 2,000 farmers and small-scale miners mounted a barricade in front of the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters in Camp Panacan, Davao City.
The barricade was lead by the Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations and Bayan Southern Mindanao to call for the pulling out of military and paramilitary troops in their communities, the cessation of Lumad killings, the burning of Lumad schools, ousting of the representative of the Lumads in Congress Nancy Catamco, and for not allowing foreign large-scale mining companies enter into their area.
Pasaka Chairperson Kerlan Fanagel said, Dr. Janet Veloso from the regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd) spoke to them after barricading along the streets of Panacan which lasted for six hours.
Fanagel said Veloso’s failure to show data and documents regarding the situations of the Lumads in Mindanao only proved their carelessness to address their problems.
“Sa panahon sa pag-abot sa DepEd nga nakighisgot sila sa mga lider sa maong barikada, nakit-an nato ang pagkainutil niining DepEd. At least nakita sa mga tao nga wala sila’y political will, wala’y sense of responsibility ug accountability ngadto sa katawhan,” he said.
(When the DepEd came to talk with the initiators of the barricade, we have proved that they are inutile. They showed to the people that they don’t have political will and sense of responsibility or accountability to the public.)
Fanagel said they have been sending reports and updates about the situation but the agency ignored it.
“Laliman ka, muingon sila nga wala sila’y datos unya daghan na kaayo mig datos nga ginahatag through sa mga na-documento sa Save Our Schools (SOS), mga series of dialogues, series of pagpasa sa mga kasabutan ug kining mga hisgutanan. Pero muingon sila nga di sila makareport sa national kay wala sila’y mahatag nga datos,” said Fanagel.
(They said they don’t have data but we have given them data through the documentation of the SOS Network, the series of dialogues and agreements. They said they cannot report to the national office because they can furnish data.)
He is also irated when the DepEd official said it is not their duty to dispel the soldiers camping in schools because of the DepEd Memorandum Order 221.
“Wala sa ilang mandato isip DepEd ang pag pull-out sa Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) ug ang DepEd Memo 221 dili daw pwede ibasura o irepeal kay mao kuno ang naghatag og regulasyon o kontrol sa pag kampo sa AFP diha sa mga eskwelahan,” he said.
(The DepEd is not mandated to pull-out militaries and the DepEd Memo 221 cannot be junked or repealed because it regulates or controls the camping of soldiers in schools.)
He added that though the agency crafted these rules but they are deaf and blind about what is really happening on the ground.
Fanagel said their group also expects an answer from the chairman of the Regional Public Peace and Order Council Davao City Mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte.
The barricade caused heavy traffic and inconvenience to several passengers.
| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Act on demand or another protest-IP, farmers to DepEd, March 21, 2016