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The Lumad youth request from DepEd

noise from the workplace and the superb buildings refer to the native Lumad by opening their eyes. Far from the peaceful place they live...

noise from the workplace and the superb buildings refer to the native Lumad by opening their eyes. Far from the peaceful place they lived, they were in Metro Manila with their calls.

Rosielyn Yambanao, Grade 10, among many young Lumads in Metro Manila today. He was here because the military had forced them to leave their own communities.

At a young age, Rosielyn witnessed some of the State's abuse and violence. He is also a witness to the closure and bombing of their school and murder of their classmates and leaders.

"The government still says the school is a place of peace. They also say that students are entitled to study. But why is it that we have built the school and that the government has not helped us, as long as they are going to turn, they still bombard it? "Rosielyn asked.

Children and child rights activists are keen on the DepEd to identify their schools in the Lumad communities. Eule Bonganay / Salinlahi    

Military equipment

Recently, the Lumad youths, their teachers and supporters, have been working closely with the Department of Education (DepEd) office. They call for the rejection of the DepEd Memorandum 221.

DepEd Memo 221 or Guidelines on the Protection of Children During Armed Conflict is strongly opposed by the Save our Schools (SOS) Network. According to them, it only extends to the violation of human rights suffered by indigenous students.

"DepEd Memo 221 will be thrown out because it gives free entry to the school and public places. It will only violate the rights of children, "said Leah Sera, teacher of Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc.

One of the goals of the SOS Network and Lumad students is that they will face DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones and unite in their condemnation of the intensifying militarization and expulsion of the military in their area. But in the past couple of days of encampment, no shadow secretary or any official from the DepEd wants to appear and talk to them.

They also called on them to issue permits to operate. After the government does not reach their school, they say they themselves will help themselves.

In addition, they are in full compliance with the requirements to run a school. It is evident that the government does not listen to their natives. The worse is, the DepEd connects with the military to subjugate them and continue to ignore their call.

"I do not know this institution (DepEd) which attracts the courage to take on the strength of our calls," said Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.

Meanwhile, children like Rosielyn are eager to return to their community. But how can they get home if their own threats to their school are waiting for them? Their wish, even if they support the government agency, should ensure their education.

Their request, the support of other sectors that understand and sympathize with them for peace and their future.

Former DSWD Sec. Judy Taguiwalo to sing a song for the One Billion Rising campaign, with Monique Wilson, Gabriela, Salinlahi groups, and others, to support the SOS Network's presence in front of the Department of Education. KR Guda

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