Sacred Scriptures clearly stipulates that Jesus have that special love for children and in one occasion He said “ Let the children come to me”….and in another passage He said …” unless you become one of these little children you can not enter the kingdom of heaven….”
Integral to the mission as Rural Missionaries was the establishment of literacy-numeracy schools in response to the need for formal education of the indigenous communities in Mindanao, and among them are the Salugpungan Ta ‘Tanu Igkanugon schools in Talaingod Davao. However, since 2011 AFP troops have time and again occupied this school and the other Salugpungan schools terrorizing the teachers, support staff and advocates, the pupils and villagers. These military troops are pursuing in the guise of “peace and development” programs under the Oplan Bayanihan, which is the Aquino government’s counterinsurgency plan, accusing the tribal leaders including the school teachers and support staff as rebels and or supporters of the revolutionary forces.
RMP condemn this desperate move by the state agents whose aim is to weaken our resolve in opposing the continued military attacks on the Salugpungan community schools. We uphold the right to education of these children. These children are enthusiastic learners, hence they were able to preserve their dynamic culture against the attempts of both foreign colonizers and Filipinos from the lowlands to intrude into and change their way of life. They have valiantly defended their ancestral land against land grabbers, foreign mining firms and other interest groups.
With the school opening just few weeks from now, we know that the AFP and other paramilitary groups are on battle-ready mode to terrorize these schools. This is a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Law, Republic Act 7610, and the very guidelines issued in 2013 by the AFP (Letter Directive No. 25) and the Department of Education (Memorandum No. 221) – all prohibiting the use of schools for military purposes.
Stop the militarization in all the Salugpungan schools !
Uphold the right to education of indigenous peasant children !
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).