EXPLOITING LUMAD SCHOOLS: How the NPA embeds to Philippine society

The Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) has been escalating the engagement of its mainstream front organizations after it played a crucial role in the ouster of Joseph Estrada. Ironically it was also a part of the coalition which was responsible for Erap’s record-setting winning margin in 1998.

Horacio Morales was an up and coming technocrat during the Marcos Administration when he decided to join the communist underground during martial law. He was released in 1986 and played a pivotal role in the Estrada campaign as the Chairman of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino, the political party formed as the lead in the coalition for the 1998 polls.

When it became clear that Erap was not going to finish his term, the rest of the Leftists who joined Morales and Erap left them high and dry. They crossed over to the camp of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and provided the warm bodies at EDSA 2. From this point on the front organizations had a front-row seat at the power table but had no part in the decision-making process. They used the privileges granted to them to fortify their front organizations and expand their reach. Two new aggrupations formed in the move to oust Erap, Anakbayan and Anakpawis, won party-list seats in the 2004 election.

It was also at this time that the Lumad schools in Mindanao were established in areas where the NPA operated. National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon has identified these as the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), which is based in the CARAGA Region and the Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, Inc. in the Davao Region.

As Vice-Chairman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, Esperon asked Education Secretary Leonor Briones to suspend the license to operate of these schools due to their curriculum advocating armed rebellion against the government and the promotion of Leftist ideology.

A letter has been sent to the European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles De Kerchove, where Esperon identified the European Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) which have been active in funneling funds for the operation of these schools including Viva Salud, Solidagro and Kiyo, all based in Brussels. Briones has suspended the permits of 55 Lumad schools while the EU is looking into the allegations about the NGOs and their Philippine counterparts.

The CPP-NPA-NDF has countered by organizing the Save Our Schools Network (SOS). The SOS is another umbrella organization that conducts propaganda operations in the mainstream to keep the Lumad schools open. The roster of organizations supporting it are the same old front organizations such as Salinlhahi, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Gabriela and its party-list group, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and ACT-Party-List, Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU), Karapatan human rights group, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, and the IBON Foundation.

This is how extensive the front organizations’ network is embedded in Philippine society. It’s also ironic that communism is a godless ideology and yet the Left is also in bed with religious groups and religious orders.

The mission statement of SOS is “International laws covering conflict situations expressly prohibit the use of public infrastructures such as schools; hospitals and rural health units for military purposes such as command posts, barracks detachments, and supply depots.

Education is a basic human right, however, over recent years, there has been an alarming increase in the number of reports of schools being militarized, being used as barracks and detachments in the course of the Aquino government counter-insurgency campaign.

This recurring child rights violations gave birth to the Save Our Schools network.

The Save our Schools Network is a network of child rights advocates, organizations and various stakeholders working together to bring light and take action on the ongoing violation of children’s right to education, particularly those in the context of militarization and attacks on schools.”

Yet there is incontrovertible evidence that the Lumad schools are actually guilty of the same practices they accuse the government of. Bayan, Anakbayan, the CEGP, the NUSP and the LFS are all propagating liberal-leftist and communist dogma in their indoctrination process.

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