DAVAO CITY — About 73 pupils from the Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon (Unite to Defend Ancestral Land) Community Learning Center, Inc. successfully finished Grade 1 to Grade 5 for the school year 2015-2016 today.
The recognition ceremony was held at the Assumption College of Davao.
The children were among the hundreds of displaced Lumads because of the alleged militarization in their communities and have been staying in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Compound since October last year.
Salugpongan Basic Education Principal Ronie Garcia said they are proud of the determination of the pupils despite the situation, but at the same time saddened that they were not able to conduct the moving up ceremony in their communities.
“We are happy that despite the challenges, our children were able to celebrate their successes, but we are also sad that instead of celebrating it in their communities, schools, and ancestral lands, they are doing it here in the city,” he said.
Garcia said their call to pull out the military troops dominating their communities in Kapalong and Talaingod, Davao del Norte and in schools have not wavered.
“We are still making efforts and we are continuously calling the pull-out of the militaries in Talaingod, Davao del Norte so that the children can go back to their studies and the people to live in their homes peacefully,” he said.
Garcia said the Lumads will insist to stay longer in UCCP Haran unless the soldiers will let go of their homes.
“As long as there is a threat caused by military and the paramilitary Alamara are still in the highlands, we will not return to our homes,” said Garcia.
He said the provincial and local government of Talaingod, Davao del Norte should act on this so as not to affect the future of the children.
Garcia, however, assured that the operation of the Salugpongan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center in Talaingod, Davao del Norte and in other parts of the Southern Mindanao Region continue despite the militarization.
Of the 73 pupils, 44 of them were boys while 29 of them were girls.
| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: 73 Lumad pupils hold recognition ceremony in city, April 20, 2016