What happened to the 55 lumad schools which were summarily suspended by the DepEd last week is something worth pondering, because although it happened in Davao hinterlands, it can also hold true to any school in the Negros mountains.
The proverbial cliché that “when the cat is away the mice will play” is classic in this situation because the cat is the government and it is nowhere in actual supervision of the 55 lumad or native schools . That is why the rebels took advantage and for a long time they had a hey day “teaching” the students there the communist culture. What else can one expect if government is not around to serve the masses?
Then the military sent a DPA deep penetration agent pretending to be a volunteer teacher and found out and reported thru a lone affidavit that allegedly among other subjects, the kids were taught how to conduct a rally against the (absentee) government ; learn the songs of the NPA (who were in their neighborhood); and taught anti government ideologies, allegedly.
When this reached the national security adviser ex-general Esperon and relayed to DepEd Sec Lingling Briones, almost instantly the schools were ordered to suspend operations. Briones claims the reason among others is lack of permit and other documents. The schools were closed without proper investigation, verification if charges were true or not. In short, there was no due process.
This is unfair. Sending students out of school due to a mere affidavit (assuming the allegations were true) should have been preceded with positive intervention and rectification of the subject being taught. Closing the school should have been the last, not the first, resort.
The DepEd was under fire by critics saying it was a stamp pad of the military. We are sure that Sec Lingling Briones, who was a known activist in the past, would not agree. But she ordered the lumad (native) schools suspended but not closed as later clarified.
Findings also showed that not all 55 but only 11 schools were in violation of subjects being taught, and were in actual threat by insurgents. Maybe they had no choice. There was no DepEd government to turn to. What else can the poor lumads do? Where is government?
Why,— the DepEd should have sent emissaries to check first before suspending the schools. In whichever way, suspending the school was wrong. Probing the situation , yes , it should have been done.
Insurgency ensues if government is absent. Like in the case of the lumad schools. Had government presence, service and attention were present, we are sure such threats won’t happen. No need to happen.
Even in our situation in Negros, we know that if government is not sufficiently present, the communists will surely become an acceptable alternative to the people.
Even if they use revolutionary taxes to buy medicine and are given free to the people, it will be welcome there because government is nowhere. Degamo’s medical mission is nowhere in many hinterlands.
If the rebs serve, are present, protect, and educate, and medicate the sick, why, of course the people will welcome that and rally to them.
There is no substitute for government’s presence nor is there an excuse for government’s absence. Both sides mean well, we know, but both sides simply have opposite ways of achieving the same goals and that makes a whole lot of difference.