Lumad volunteer teacher arrested in Tandag

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A volunteer Lumad teacher of the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur was arrested on July 17 by the Philippine National Police in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur for allegedly participating in an ambush.

From a Facebook alert post from Karapatan-Caraga, Gary Campos, a Lumad Manobo scholar of the People’s Apostolate scholarship of Tandag was on his way to a review center in preparation for the teacher’s licensure examination when he was arrested by the police and brought to Butuan City Police Station.

Campos was able to call his friends to inform them of his situation.

The Lumad teacher has been charged was charged for his alleged participation in an ambush by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels that happened six years ago on Nov. 16, 2016, in Barangay Sto. Niño, Bayugan City.

Campos finished his formative education at the Lumad schools Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur(TRIFPSS) and Alternative Learning Center, and earned an education degree at St. Theresa’s College-Tandag. He volunteered to teach at a local school in Tandag City under the Department of Education.

Alliance of Concerned Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro demanded Campos’s release and the charges be dropped.

“Si Teacher Gary ay isang teacher-leader na naninindigan para sa mga karapatan ng mga Lumad sa karapatan sa edukasyon at kanilang karapatan sa lupang ninuno.Dahil sa kanyang paninindigan,siya ay kinasuhan ng gawa-gawang kaso,” Castro added. (Teacher Gary is a teacher-leader who stood for the Lumad’s right to education and their right to their ancestral domain. He was then filed with trumped up charges due to this commitment.)

The Save Our Schools Network denounced the arrest as another attempt by state agents to repress Lumad youth who have been proactive in giving back to their communities.

“Even after his administration has ended, Duterte’s terror persists and has been passed down to the current, including, among other things, extensive trumped up charges, unlawful detentions, and other human rights violations,” the group said in a statement.

He is also a member of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod(MAPASU), a Lumad organization defending the Andap Valley Complex against foreign large-scale coal mining.

178 Lumad schools were closed down by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict on allegations of being recruitment schools for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, the SOS Network reports.

Two volunteer teachers for Lumad schools — Chad Booc and Gelejurain Ngujo II — along with three other persons were killed in an alleged encounter in Barangay Andap, New Bataan, Davao de Oro last February 24. The SOS Network said the teachers were surveying communities in preparation for rebuilding Lumad schools. (davaotoday.com)

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