In November 21, 2012, Mr. Rozanno E. Rufino coordinator, Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO) and adviser to the indigenous peoples concern of the Department of Education central office visited Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV)Inc and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur Schools (TRIFPSS) in Lianga Surigao del Sur. The visit is an outcome of Save our Schools (SOS) conference, a Mindanao-wide campaign against schools under attack which prompted a national dialogue at the congress in September 2012 led by KALUMARAN and KATRIBU Partylist. Almost 100 IP schools in Mindanao are currently under attack.As presented in the conference,vilification and red- baiting of schools are popularized by the government troops just to cover up their violations.
The arrival of Mr. Rufino was highlighted by parents, leaders, learners and teachers gathering. Hon.Manuel Alameda, vice governor of Surigao del Sur, Hon.Roy Regino Sarmen,Mayor of Lianga and Diatagon Barangay Captain Hon Liby Te assisted the visit.
In a formal gathering, Marife Magbanua , executive director of ALCADEV and Annabelle Campos Literacy Coordinator of TRIFPSS presented vision, mission and goals of the institutions. Chronologies of attacks against schools and human rights violation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines were presented comprehensively since 2005.
Leaders, parents and learners spoke out reactions in behalf of issues thrown at schools. They expressed disappointment to Department of Education of Surigao del Sur for pushing ALCADEV into a formal school framework. “We are contented of what TRIFPSS and ALCADEV has done in educating our children. We urge the Dep Ed to make necessary step to this matter”, Bertuldo Garay vice chairperson of MAPASU said.
Vice Governor Alameda and Mayor Sarmen affirmed efforts of ALCADEV and TRIFPSS in responding the need for education in the rank of Lumad. “We appreciated what ALCADEV did for the IP’s which is supposed to be the responsibility of the government but they did it”, quoted Alameda. Sarmen emphasized that they have known concerns of ALCADEV and TRIFPSS and always supportive at the schools side. In response, Mr Rufino said” Nakikinig ako doon sa mga sinasabi.Nandito din ako upang magbibigay pugay sa efforts na ginagawa ng TRIFPSS at ALCADEV” (I have listened to what everyone has said. I am also here to give honor to ALCADEV and TRIFPSS effort). He affirmed what leaders said about their stance for self-determination and ancestral land as it is reflected in the law. He was also saddened after hearing testimonies of speakers.” When people stand and have spoken and pushed stance and views based on their rights to ancestral land,there occurs the issue. “He also pinpointed that issues being presented are complicated and do not only focus in education. After all he was very pleased and valued presence of local government.
Rufino clarified that things doesn’t end up after the visit but to continue efforts in order to address issues being presented. He explained DepEd order 62 series of 2011 or the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPED) as result of recent educational changes.According to him this changes must be disseminated so that people know their rights in relations to DepEd’s policy in the context of indigenous people’s education. He further explains that education goes with appropriateness in responding the needs like alternative education. “ DepEd having its mandate can even bring a good policy environment to whatever initiatives the people have started specially areas beyond its ( DepEd) reach and help to further improve the initiatives.” Just like what is being done here, DepEd should help and support and journey with peoples own perspective for education. It is the responsibility of the Dep Ed to respond issues presented”, he added.