STATEMENT BY MAYOR SARA DUTERTE ON THE CLOSURE OF SALUGPUNGAN SCHOOLS IN DAVAO CITY

The City Government of Davao on March 19, 2019, through its City Peace and Order Council, submitted a resolution to the Department of Education requesting that the permit to operate possessed by 11 Salugpungan schools in Davao City be terminated and canceled completely.

The resolution was based on two items:

1. The persistent problem of Salugpungan students not having academic records and individual learner’s reference number. Because of this, the time they spent in Salugpungan could not be properly credited to their academic records with DepEd.

2. The presence of DepEd schools in areas where Salugpungan operates, which overrule the purpose of a Salugpungan school.

In addition to this, Davao City has been provided with a written report containing the revelation made by a former Salugpungan student about the school teaching students how to use firearms, apart from them being indoctrinated with anti-government propaganda. This document DID NOT come from Secretary Hermogenes Esperon.

The City Government conducted due diligence in inquiring into the activities of Salugpungan schools before coming up with a CPOC resolution. The decision was based on facts, not on a whim or rumors as critics and anti-government forces want the public to believe.

Salugpungan clearly failed to give justice to the sacrifices and dreams of the Lumad students who spent their time with their organization, believing the school will help them better their chances in the future. Salugpungan shall never operate in Davao City again because of this failure and unforgivable injustice.

After Salugpungan schools were shut down in Davao, their former students are now being reintegrated and will receive their regular education from DepEd.

Meanwhile, the councilor from Davao City who called on the Sangguniang Panlungsod to inquire into the closure of the Salugpungan schools in our city should first check the facts that form the basis of the request for closure, and not rely on the disinformation fed to her by the Makabayan bloc and its CPP-NPA-NDFP allies.

In another note, we are witnesses to how the Save Our Schools Network continues to shamelessly lick its wound publicly over the closure of Salugpungan schools.

It scampered in obvious panic, but it is relentless in its efforts to sow disinformation about the government and why the closure was enforced.

It even hosted a concert in Manila — a fundraiser for the so-called of “bakwit school” or a “school-on-the-run”.

But students of bakwit schools are lumad children sprung out by SOS Network from their communities and forcibly brought in to the cities, away from their homes to be used as poster boys and girls in their anti-government agenda.

It is clearly another form of abuse and oppression of Lumad children by a group that feigns being its protectors and defenders.

A bakwit school, just like Salugpungan schools, is useless because it is not and it will never be recognized by DepEd.

A bakwit school is yet another ploy to solicit pity and money from the public, while advancing their propaganda against the government.

The general public is warned against supporting the deceptive acts and practices of duplicitous groups such as the SOS Network.

Because the truth is, the money generated from fundraisers supposedly to benefit lumad children does not go to the intended recipients — and instead, it is used to fund anti-government activities that also allow them to continue their oppression of our Lumad communities, especially children.

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