MANILA -- Senator Imee Marcos on Tuesday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to submit a report on the implementation of its policies and programs in providing education to indigenous peoples (IPs).
Marcos, chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, made the call during a Senate hearing on the suspension of 55 Salugpungan schools catering to IP communities across Davao Region.
Marcos cited the right of IPs to education as provided in the Philippine Constitution, in Republic Act 8371, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997.
The senator asked the department about its efforts to ensure accessible and quality education for IP learners, as well as other alternatives such as non-formal and informal learning systems in the region.
I urge the DepEd to submit as soon as possible such educational efforts or programs that are respondent to IPs' needs, she said.
What are the actual implementation efforts in the issuance of that policy and constitutional mandate? she asked.
She also requested for the proper accounting of displaced learners to ensure that they will continue their education amid the temporary closure of the 55 schools.
There should be an accounting for the students. Nasaan na sila ngayon (Where are they now)? What schools are they attending? Marcos said.
The DepEd has ordered the suspension of the permit to operate of the 55 schools operated and owned by the Salugpongan Ta' Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers in Davao Region in July.
The temporary closure of the Salugpungan was based on the report of National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr, who chairs the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
Esperon presented his report by enumerating the following reasons for the suspension of the schools' operations: the institutions do not teach the curriculums in accordance with DepEd guidelines; trains its students to hold mass actions against the government; and teaches students to rebel against the government.
Source: Philippines News Agency