MANILA — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde said there is no need for him to visit Lumad schools following reports that that these are being used by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) to ‘indoctrinate’ students to join the movement.
Albayalde made the remark in response to ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro’s statement daring him to personally observe activities in a Lumad school.
“Once we get there, they might change the subject. We believe these Lumad people who visited us before. If you could just imagine, they are being exploited there and their minds are being poisoned. They are also being taught to sing a different national anthem. That’s what the Lumad who came here said,” Albayalde said in a press briefing Monday.
“We’re not telling that the school is illegitimate, but what they are saying is what they teach in that school dahil sabi nila, ‘yung pambansang awit na pinapakanta po nila ay iba. At kinanta pa nila dito ‘yun (they said the national anthem taught to them is different. They even sang it here). We’re not making this up,” the PNP chief added.
Albayalde also noted that it is the Department of Education (DepEd) that should visit and evaluate the lessons being taught in these learning centers.
Last Oct. 17, a group of Lumad tribesmen headed by Lipatuan Unad, chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples’ Coalition for Cultural, Justice, and Integrity, visited the PNP chief in Camp Crame and sought protection from New People’s Army (NPA) as he claimed that they are forcing the Lumads to join their group.
He said some leftists groups also transport indigenous people to Metro Manila to join demonstrations during big events like the State of the Nation Address.
“What they teach them is how to rally and other activities of the group. They also bring these people from Mindanao to Manila whenever there are big events, especially SONA (State of the Nation Address). Our IP friends are being exploited,” he stressed.
Castro, along with former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, and 72 others were arrested by police in a checkpoint operation in Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Nov. 28 for alleged kidnapping when they were found transporting 14 minors who are reportedly students of the Salugpungan Learning Center, a school for Lumad children. (PNA)