Under the Gun: Lumad School Rises Amid Conflict, Military Atrocities

“TRIFPSS and Alcadev went along the evacuation and continued its education work, because the real school is among the indigenous people,” she said. “These schools were born out of the unity and strength of the people.”

At the Pastoral Center, Manobo youths expressed their wish to return to their own lives and homes. “We would do what we can to get back home,” said a shy 16-year-old girl.
“It’s grueling,” 15-year-old Amor described the condition in the evacuation center. There are so many people, limited food, limited water supply, no decent toilet, and people had to sleeping on mats on the ground, she said.

“I can’t feel the fresh air here. Because back home, in the mountains, you can feel it, when you view the mountains,” Jeffrey, another Alcadev learner, said.

Still, they are willing to endure the hardships at the evacuation center than to face suffering amid the presence of the soldiers.

Asked what the Manobo youth would want to do given better conditions, Robert answered: “To be able to give service to the tribe and other communities. As a tribal youth, to have our rights and capabilities recognized and respected.”

But the right to education and the right of indigenous peoples remains threatened by the “implementation of development projects” by the military in Surigao del Sur.

“It is the worst form of discrimination against the Lumad if they will be deprived of education,” Magbanua said. “They were already displaced and this is all that they have.” (Bulatlat.com)

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