BACANSI, Butuan City – The 2nd Caraga Regional Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) meeting presided by the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Secretary (CORDS) in Caraga and RTF-ELCAC Chairman, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B Nograles was held last August 27, 2019, at Gateway Hotel, Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.

With the full support and attendance of the Regional Member Agencies and Local Chief Executives of Caraga, RTF ELCAC took bold steps against the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) to pave the way for the adoption of the RTF-ELCAC resolution in expanding the coverage of the suspension of Non-DepEd Schools in Caraga.

The agenda on the Non-DepEd Schools was brought to the attention in the plenary due to the issues raised by Datu Rico Maca, IP Mandatory Representative of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur last August 6, 2019 during the Dagyaw Caravan regarding the presence of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) schools which cause conflict in the community.

According to the report of Ms Nabelle Yangson from the Department of Interior and Local Government(DILG) Caraga, out of 29 Non-DepEd Schools established which have not submitted applications for Permit to Operate as private schools serving IP learners, only 9 were left operational; San Miguel – 2, Caras-an – 1, Mahaba, Marihatag – 1, Buhisan, San Agustin, – 1 and Diatagon, Lianga – 4. Yangson, on behalf of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) requested for an assistance in the closure of the remaining ALCADEV and TRIFPSS schools in the province.

In response, Secretary Nograles raised the motion to the body and was unanimously agreed that the Department of Education (DepEd) shall demand for a show cause order against the TRIFPSS and ALCADEV as they continue to refuse to be accredited with DepEd. He further said that the DepED shall act accordingly to expand the coverage of the suspension of Non-DepEd Schools in Caraga especially TRIFPSS and ALCADEV which are considered Non-DepEd Schools.

Bae Magdalena I Gano, a Manobo from San Miguel, Surigao del Sur and former student of the Non DepED School and a Former Rebel (FR) herself, condemned the said schools. She claimed that she was brainwashed and agitated and further revealed that those schools were utilized as breeding ground for students to become full-time NPA members. “Ilaha ka pa-eskwelahon kuno og libre og ipalantaw nila sa imu nga sila ray mitabang kanimo nga kabos og dinaog-daog. Ang elementary sa TRIFPSS dayun mag high school sa ALCADEV. Gikan sa elementray ila kang hatagan og pagtoon nga masuko og mahadlok sa gobyerno. Hangtud nga makadesisyun ka gyud nga musampa sa armado. Isa ako sa dakong buhi nga testimonya og pruweba. Dako nako pasalamat sa goberyno ilabina sa kasundaluhan kay ila kong gidawat maskin sakong kasal-anan sa ilaha”, Bae Magdalena said in her vernacular.

In his statement, Col Maurito L Licudine. 402nd Brigade Commander said, “This is the essence of the Whole of Nation Approach. The issue will be facilitated to be resolved and addressed by the LGU or the civilian sector with the military in support to the effort.

In this situation, civilians can now see through the lingering problem that caused the insurgency in the region. The RTF ELCAC simply puts in place together the mandate and the ability to end insurgency by taking a stand against the machinations and exploitation of the CPP-NPA Terrorist and its legal front organizations.”

“The closure of the Non-DepEd Schools such as the TRIFPSS and ALCADEV would mean prevention of the recruitment scheme to join the NPA. Their refusal to compromise and jointly find solution to their issues indicate their ill intention because if not, they should have submitted already their proposed curriculum as they claimed fit for the Lumads and push for the accreditation of their schools to gain legal grounds.

But as expected, the CPP/NPA deception is at play again. We call on the CPP/NPA to stop brainwashing the youths and instead join us in accelerating peace and development in Caraga” Col Licudine added.