RESOLUTION: Condemn military encampment in school premises in Mindanao

Condemning in the strongest terms the continued military encampment within school premises and the continued vilification, harassment and threats against children, communities, teachers, private and alternative school administrators and staff in rural communities in Mindanao

Approved by the International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
5-6 June 2014

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WHEREAS, rural communities in Mindanao specifically peasant and Indigenous Peoples communities have been experiencing relentless militarization which resulted in grave abuses and massive human rights violations which includes military encampments within school premises, continued vilification, harassment and threats against the school and school administration and staff of learning centers managed by institutions such as Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporation, CLANS, ALCADEV and other NGOs.

WHEREAS, the long-standing crisis in education spurred service organizations and religious institutions to build and develop formal schools in Mindanao’s Lumad and peasant communities in an effort to augment and alleviate problems brought about by government neglect in the education sector.

WHEREAS, rural communities in Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, and Sarangani provinces in Mindanao have been able to establish early childhood education, primary and secondary schools, both formal and non-formal that boasts 100% passing rates.

WHEREAS, Human Rights Alliance Karapatan and Indigenous Peoples Confederation PASAKA have documented more than 20 schools, both Department of Education and Alternative/ Private Lumad Schools in Mindanao, to have been subject to direct military attack in the form of military encampment in schools; setting up of detachments 5 to 50 meters within the school perimeter; actual threat, intimidation, and harassment of children, teachers and the whole community.

WHEREAS, In July 2012,PASAKA and KMP together with the Save Our School network held a dialogue with the national office of the Department of Education and House of Representatives Committee on education and other concerned government agencies to demand the stop of the military’s policy of encamping in civilian communities, especially in schools.

WHEREAS, the violations continue to date that PASAKA has again documented more than 10 schools in Davao Region alone to be under the same plight. Most of these are in Super Typhoon Pablo devastated areas — Compostela, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur including Davao del Norte.

WHEREAS, encampments, threats, harassments and other human rights violations happened in the following schools:

Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center (STTICLCI) Annexes in:

  1. Prk 3, Brgy. Panansalan, Compostela, Compostela Valley Province

  2. Prk 4B, Brgy. Mangayon, Compostela

  3. 13 communities in Brgys Palma Gil and Dagohoy, Talaingod, Davao del Norte

Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. Academy (MISFI ) Annexes in :

  1. Quelangcog, Loreto, Agusan del Sur

  2. Cogonon, Trento, Agusan del Sur

  3. Sitio Limot, Baganga, Davao Oriental

  4. Sitio Mantapay, Baganga, Davao Oriental

DepEd Schools in:

  1. So. Bongkilaton, Brgy. Ngan, Compostela

  2. Brgy. Pandaitan, Paquibato, Davao City

  3. Brgy Fatima, Paquibato, Davao City Assumption College of Davao Extension Schools in:

    1. Marilog, Paquibato, Davao City

WHEREAS, we strongly oppose the relentless militarization which resulted in displacement, evacuation and wanton human rights violations specifically in the rural communities in Mindanao which are targeted by large and foreign mining concessions, other mineral extraction projects and other pseudo-development projects while undermining the basic human rights of the people. Especially we oppose the military’s continued encampment in civilian communities including public infrastructures such as barangay halls and health centers.

WHEREAS, this unabated and discriminate attack on alternative peasant and Indigenous Peoples schools and children will affect more than 2000 school children served by RMP and MISFI in Regions X, XI and Region XII alone.

WHEREAS, while the genuine service institutions, with its meager resources, try to augment what the government has neglected to do for the majority of the rural poor children, the government’s armed forces use their armed strength and the state’s resources to oppress them.

WHEREAS, this unabated and discriminate attack on community schools in the rural poor areas affects thousands of school children in Mindanao. Thus, we reiterate the particular provision that is being violated as stipulated in our government law (Republic Act 7610, Article 10-E) that: “Public infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and rural health units shall not be utilized for military purposes such as command posts, barracks, detachments, and supply depots.”

NOW, BE IT RESOLVED, that along with our vision to educate the children of the most marginalized sectors, we strongly demand our government, all the concerned agencies and stakeholders to:

  • INVESTIGATE INTO AND RESCIND THE MILITARY PROGRAMS AND OPERATIONS that include military encampments in schools, military personnel serving as community teachers, harassments of teachers and students vilification as rebel supporters, psychological warfare operations, surveillance, black propaganda, etc.

  • RECOGNIZE EFFORTS OF OUR COMMUNITY SCHOOLS, which have the commitment to serve in places where government support is lacking, by requiring only the most minimum and culturally-appropriate requirements and procedures for recognition.

  • SCRAP ALL POLICIES, PROGRAMS AND LAWS THAT PUSH MINING PROJECTS AND OTHER INVESTMENTS THAT PLUNDER OUR NATURAL RESOURCES, which we believe provide government the impetus to militarize our communities and violate our human rights.

  • PULLOUT IMMEDIATELY MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY UNITS in all our schools and communities for the safety of the community, the people, especially the children.

  • ENSURE THAT EDUCATION, HEALTH AND OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES ARE PROVIDED especially to the most marginalized sectors– the urban and rural poor, the peasantry and the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao by providing budgetary support to community learning schools from the national and local governments.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we exert all possible efforts to defend the rights to education of the rural poor children and extend our support to a vision of building an education system that works for the peasant and Indigenous Peoples children, for social justice and for the genuine peace and genuine development of the rural poor communities. We thus declare our solidarity with any movement that fights for human rights and genuine just and lasting peace with a demand for economic and social justice.

Sponsored by:
PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao Region

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