To discuss the youth’s responsibility in support for the Lumads on their assertion for education, the first Save Our Schools Network Volunteers Assembly was held earlier today, July 12, 2017 at Lispher Inn, Juna, Davao City.
Rius Valle, spokesperson of Save Our Schools Network, expressed his thoughts about the existing struggles of Lumad students. According to him, the event was organized to strengthen the campaign against militarization in lumad schools and other rural areas.
“Sa tala sa Save Our Schools Network, more than a thousand na ang nahimong biktima sa attack on schools, of which about 67 attacks ang documented diri sa southern mindanao region alone. Nagtumong ang SOS Network sa pagpakusog sa tingog sa atong mga igsoong Lumad, ilabina ang mga estudyante ug magtutudlo nga naa sa lumad communities,” Valle said.
“Unta ihunong na ang kaning mga pag-atake sa lumad schools, dis-armahan ug i-dismantle ang mga paramilitary groups, ug i-pull out ang mga military groups nga padayong nagakampo sa mga eskwelahan, balay ug sa sulod mismo sa mga civilian communities,” he continued.
Valle considers this event as a stepping stone to raise their concerns to the higher officials of the government. He stated, “pinaagi ani, mapaabot nato sa taas nga panggamhanan ang kahimtang sa Mindanao. Dili lang Marawi ang bombarded sa grabe nga attacks. Kundili, apil ang lumad communities sa mga biktima sa aerial bombardments, militarization ug attacks sa mga eskwelahan.”
Students from the different schools in Davao City and other provinces joined the assembly. Participants were from the University of Immaculate Concepcion, Assumption College of Davao, University of Southeastern Philippines, Ateneo de Davao University, University of Southern Mindanao-Kidapawan, and University of Southern Mindanao-North Cotabato. Representatives from the schools mentioned presented their strategies which they plan to implement in their respective schools. They aim to increase awareness among students about the current situation of Lumad schools and how to support them.
Co-sponsors of the event were the National Anti-Poverty Commission and the National Union of Students in the Philippines. Sister Luz Mallo of the Sisters Association in Mindanao was also present during the program who gave a solidarity message. Throughout the program, documentaries, videos and pictures were also shown to showcase the different faces and real situations of Lumad communities.