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Conflict-Affected IP Community In Surigao Del Sur Gets New Classrooms


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About 200 school children in the remote and conflict-affected Indigenous People (IP) village of Sitio Tubod in Barangay Bolhoon, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur will benefit from the newly completed six school buildings constructed by the government.

The school buildings, which were formally handed over to the IP community on Wednesday, were funded through the PHP10 million Barangay Development Project under the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

In a phone interview on Thursday, Datu Baning Miranda, the tribal chieftain of Sitio Tubod, said the facilities would help the Manobo children attain a good future while keeping them away from “the influence and recruitment of the New People’s Army (NPA).”

Miranda thanked the provincial government of Surigao del Sur for facilitating the release of the funding of the project, and the NTF-ELCAC for ensuring the education of the IP children in their village.

In a separate interview, Datu Rico Maca, the IP Mandatory Representative of San Miguel, said more government schools would be established in the area to counter the recruitment of IP youths by the NPA.

“The young members of the Manobo tribe must be given proper education through the support of the government,” he said.

Maca recalled that the Manobo tribe in Surigao del Sur have fought for the closure of two former school institutions managed by the communist rebels.

He was referring to the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV).

“The TRIFPSS and the ALCADEV became the training ground of IP youths who were recruited by the NPA rebels to fight the government. We are happy that these two institutions have already ceased operations for more than four years now,” Maca alleged.

The two organizations have denied the claim.

Nonetheless, Maca said San Miguel’s tribal leaders are working with the government to establish more schools accredited by the Department of Education in tribal areas. (PNA)