National Youth Commission Chair Appeals for Schools as “Peace Zones” (Philippines)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page

(Reposted from: Sun Star Manila.  August 15, 2017)

By Ruth Abbey Gita 

THE chairperson of the National Youth Commission (NYC) on Tuesday appealed to the military and other groups involved in the conflict in Mindanao to treat schools, including Lumad schools, as zones of peace.

“The youth, along with other vulnerable and marginalized sectors, must be protected. Peace zones, including schools, hospitals, and religious structures must be free from the presence of state or non-state armed groups,” NYC chair Aiza Seguerra told reporters in Malacañang.

Seguerra’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte said last month that he would order the police and the military to bomb the schools of the indigenous peoples, which have been used to “hate government and eventually go to war.”

Seguerra’s statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte said last month that he would order the police and the military to bomb the schools of the indigenous peoples, which have been used to “hate government and eventually go to war.”

In July, Duterte warned of bombing Lumads’ “illegal learning institutions” that continue to operate even without the clearance or permit of the government.

“The schools of Lumads, they’re operating without the Department of Education’s permit. In their schools, they are teaching subversion, communism, and everything. So better leave. I’ll tell the Lumads now, leave because I will bomb [your schools],” he told reporters after his Sona held on July 24.

Seguerra asked the President not to pursue his threat against the Lumad schools, which she agreed might have been used by other groups to push for their “different agendas.”

“We have not talked to the President about it (bombing indigenous peoples’ schools). Of course, we don’t want that to happen. We want to make sure that all schools will not be affected by any war, whatever power struggle will emerge,” Seguerra said.

“We are asking the President to not do that. Perhaps, schools are sometimes used by groups with agenda. So I’ll be very firm about this: Please let’s leave off our schools. Let’s make sure that the youth will study. Let our youth learn on their own. So do not use schools for different agendas,” she added.

On July 28, military spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla Jr. made an assurance that the government forces would not bomb Lumad schools, saying the President merely sought to issue a “strong” warning against those who do not follow the government’s rules and regulations.

Seguerra said the government should instead consider the integration of peace education in all schools, including the learning facilities of indigenous peoples.

“Our government must also exhaust all efforts to ensure access to basic social services despite conflict and to uphold and respect human rights at all times,” she said.

“The youth shall inherit the call for lasting peace, a call that the peoples of Mindanao have been striving to realize. We believe that peace and security is needed to build on the gains of our forefathers and to ensure the continuity and consistency of our nation’s development,” she added. 

(Go to original article)

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: please read the Global Campaign for Peace Education's content disclaimer / policy regarding the posting and sharing of content.