Amid the alleged military abuse they have been experiencing, 54 pupils from displaced Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities in Davao del Norte were still able to participate in the 8th Moving Up and Recognition Ceremonies of the Mindanao Interfaith Services, Inc. (MISFI) Academy today, June 5, at UCCP Haran Compound, Davao City.
The ceremony was intended for the second batch of pupils from different Sitios of Kapalong, Davao del Norte, who were not able to attend the same recognition rites conducted at the Almendras Gym last May 25 due to the reported threats allegedly brought about by the paramilitary group called Alamara.
“Subo palandungon nga wala sila didto [Brgy. Gupitan] nag-moving up tungod kay ginahasi sila sa mga [miyembro sa] Alamara, which is ginapaluyuhan pud sa sundalo,” MISFI Academy Education Program Coordinator Milagros Tan said, adding that some military officers and members of the Alamara tagged MISFI Academy as a New People’s Army (NPA) school and accused the teachers of the said Academy as members of the said group.
Despite this claim, the ceremony was pushed through, with the participation of the parents, teachers, and other support groups, such as the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network.
Currently, MISFI Academy has around 400 students with campuses located in different areas in the town of Kapalong.
At present, some IPs and support groups continue to call to stop the alleged militarization in IP schools in Davao del Norte, also condemning the order for the closure of some IP schools particularly in Talaingod.
Meanwhile, some IPs from Kapalong and Talaingod are still in UCCP Haran after having been evacuated last month due to the claimed military abuses and harassment they experienced in their respective places.