UNPFII

Risking life for education: The experience of Lumad students in the Philippines 

 

Join us to hear Lumad leaders, teachers and students share their experiences of struggling for education in the Philippines.

 

 

 

Date: Thursday 22nd April, 7:30 -8:45pm (PHT)/ 7:30 – 8:45am (EST)

 

Location: Zoom

 

Registration Required: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/risking-life-for-education-lumad-students-in-the-philippines-tickets-150710947501

 

Background 

“Leave. I'm telling those in the Lumad schools now, get out. I will bomb you. I will bomb your communities and your schools.” (President Rodrigo Duterte, 2017). 

Threats against Lumad schools have escalated since May 2017 when peace talks between the government and the so-called Communist insurgency failed and Martial Law was declared in Mindanao:

- In September 2017, at least 30 schools and 1,300 students were displaced in the military’s continuing assault on Lumad schools. 

- In June 2018, human rights monitors announced 532 attacks on Lumad schools since Duterte’s inauguration. 

- By July 2018, at least 33 schools had been closed down and at least 4,600 students displaced. 

- By March 2019, at least 70 of 228 Lumad schools in Mindanao were closed with an additional 284 attacks on Lumad schools, and 26 having been seized and used as military camps despite the fact that International laws covering conflict situations expressly prohibit the use of public infrastructures such as schools for military purposes. 

- By May 2020, a total of 178 Lumad schools had been forcibly closed. Many of these schools were violently destroyed by military and paramilitary forces.  

- By 2020 not less than 30 Lumad volunteer teachers face fabricated and trumped-up charges. 

 

In their efforts to continue their education, Lumad have formed Bakwit, or evacuation schools in Mindanao, Manila and Cebu. However, persecution persists, and government forces have violently raided the schools in Cebu and Mindanao and the school in Manila remains under threat. Most recently, on 15 February 2020 the Philippine National Police Office Region 7, the Department of Social workers and development (DSWD 7), Alamara and members of the Local Government Unite (LGU of Talaingod barged into the Bakwit school Cebu and illegally arrested students and teachers, some of whom remain detained as we speak.  

The abuses of Lumad Indigenous People in the Philippines amount to attempted cultural genocide through extra-judicial killings and forced removal from their ways of life, belief, spirituality, access to food, medicine and culturally and contextually appropriate education. Lumad are not the only Indigenous people affected by this systemic abuse. 

 

Objectives 

- Raise awareness of the situation faced by Lumad students and the need to include the cultural genocide of Indigenous people in the Philippines and the systematic and persistent illegal dispossession and destruction of the environment in the International Criminal Court’s Investigation in the Philippines.   

- Articulate the need for an independent review of the human rights situation in the Philippines at the upcoming 51st session on The Human Rights Council. Ensuring that such a review includes the voices and experiences of Indigenous People and takes into account the government’s use of paramilitaries and practice of ‘red-tagging’.  

 

- Increase state understandings of the way sales of military equipment is used in human rights abuses and advocate for a cessation of all sales of military and surveillance equipment until such as time as states can be sure this equipment is not being used to oppress Indigenous people and human rights defenders. 

 

Organisers: Save Our Schools, and Iglesia Filipina Independiente, with support from United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG)