Briones visit to school cancelled due to picket

The Department of Education has canceled the visit of Secretary Leonor Briones at Kapitan Tomas Monteverde Sr. Elementary School in Davao City after a group identified with the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network picketed the school’s gate.

Briones was set to visit the school on Wednesday morning to talk with the teachers and students of the school when the SOS Network along with the group of Indigenous People picketed the school’s gate.

Principal Maria Epifania Villa informed reporters that the visit twas canceled to avoid any trouble with the protesters.

Villa did not elaborate.

During the protest rally of the group, teacher Regulo Abajero III of the said school confronted them and asked to move out because it would ruin the image of the school. Abajero said in an interview, that the school official did not expect that there will be rallyist who will assemble in front of their school.

“Ingon man ko sa ilaha nga kinsa nag kuan sa inyoha nga mag-rally mo diri? Giingnan pud nako nga ako Bagobo ko, lumad pud ko pero kana ilang gipangdala diri wala ni kasabot sa ilang tuyo (I asked, who told them to conduct rally here. I also told them that I am a Bagobo, I am also an IP, the native groups they brought here don’t understand what they are doing here ),” he said.

But, the protesters told Abajero that it is part of the their freedom of expression to air their disappointments with DepEd for allegedly closing IP Schools in the hinterlands.

On the part of the protesters, SOS Network spokesperson Rius Valle said the group staged the rally in time of the visit of Briones because these people demand to face them and grant the permits being asked by these institutions.

“Sa katunayan nasa 14 ka mga permits ang hindi pa rin naibibigay. Ang iba mag four years na, ang iba mag-two years na itoy kahit na meron ng requirement na kinomply (Actually, there 14 permits who are still not granted. Some are pending for four years and some are two years this despite the compliance of all requirements),” he said. Valle said the pending permits becomes the reason military harrasments in the IP schools in the hinterlands.