From the Philippine Star (Dec 1): Lumad students, teachers to protest military encampment in schools
More than 50 Lumad students and teachers from community schools in Mindanao will start on Monday afternoon a vigil in front of the Department of Education central office in Pasig City to protest the continuous encampment of soldiers in their campuses.
Along with various non-government organizations led by Save Our Schools Network, the Lumad students and teachers called on Education Secretary Armin Luistro to scrap the memorandum which allows the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to use the schools in military operations.
The groups said that to date, there are around 214 Lumad community schools with military encampment in Mindanao.
The groups will try to seek a dialogue with Luistro to discuss the issues plaguing Lumad community schools.
On December 2, the group will also build a makeshift classroom to show the plight of Lumads every time they are forced to evacuate their communities when there are military operations in the area.
The public hearing was presided over by Ad Hoc Committee chairman Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan De Oro. With his group were representatives from Zamboanga Del Norte, Tawi-Tawi, a partylist representative, and others.
GPH Peace Panel Chair Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Atty. Leo Lorena of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Atty. Lanang T. Ali Jr. of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) were the resource persons.
Majority of the participants in the public hearing were from the local government units (LGUs). Those that were not in the list were not allowed to attend the public hearing.
The local government unit of Pagadian City is not part of the Bangsamoro core territory and is lukewarm on BBL. Some participants raised the following questions on:
1. Why do we need Bangsamoro government when it will only divide the Filipino people?
2. Why do we have to create a government within the government?
3. How are we assured that the MILF surrender their firearms to the government?
4. If the MILF party does not win in the election, will they not engage in rebellion again?
5. Why is Bangsamoro authorized to have their flag, anthem, and seal?
6. What will happen to MILF combatants who are not professionals, will they be integrated in the Bangsamoro Police?
The participants who support the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) were not be given a chance to join in the discussions and air their statements to the Ad Hoc Committee on BBL.