Defying President Duterte’s threats of a crackdown against progressives and activists, youth groups led by Anakbayan and the League of Filipino Students (LFS) are joining the Lumad children’s campout in front of the Department of Education (DepEd) head office in Pasig City against the continuing threats by the Duterte government against Lumad schools and communities in Mindanao.

“The Lumad and their right to education have been neglected by successive administrations. Now that Lumad have put up their own schools for their children and communities, Duterte wants to bomb them? We are here to show our solidarity with Lumad. We are here to make a stand against Duterte’s dictatorial fantasies,” said Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

“Lumads will be the most affected by Duterte’s threats of a crackdown against legal progressive groups. We call on all Filipino youth and people to stand with the Lumad and other national minorities in defending their schools and ancestral lands. We call on everyone to stand against the US-Duterte regime’s intensified fascist attacks against our civil ,” said Crisostomo.

Contrary to black propaganda by the Duterte government, LFS National Spokesman JP Rosos said the Lumad schools have secured DepEd permits or are processing these permits but have been delayed by the DepEd. “These schools are the Lumad’s self-reliant effort to attain their right to education amidst continuing government neglect. And yet Duterte continues past regime’s perpetration of threats and violence against Lumad schools and communities,” he said.

Lumad schools and communities have in recent months bore the brunt of military attacks with Duterte’s threats to “bomb Lumad schools”, scuttling of NDFP peace negotiations and launching its Oplan Kapayapaan “all-out war” against the revolutionary movement. Initiated by the Save Our Schools Network (SOS), the Lumad children’s campout at DepEd to highlight the plight of Lumad children and bakwit who cannot go home because of Duterte’s intensified counterinsurgency operations.

The LFS spokesman said the Duterte regime is unleashing military counterinsurgency operations against Lumad schools and communities to clear the way for the entry of big companies and multinationals to do large-scale mining and commercial plantations in Lumad ancestral lands. “For all his bluster against oligarchs, Duterte is clearly on the side of big corporations and multinationals plundering Lumad ancestral lands the altar of greed and profit,” said Rosos.


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