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Red-linked groups use IP schools to solicit foreign funds: guv

By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency

Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander Pimentel (Screen grab)

MANILA – Surigao del Sur Gov. Alexander Pimentel disclosed that schools, run by supporters of communist terrorist groups, are being used to solicit international donations.

Pimentel said the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS), Inc. and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) have been used as the "milking cows" of the communist groups and their legal front organization to generate foreign funding.

He said groups of indigenous people (IP) are being brought to the said schools for evacuation by the communist-linked organizations whenever there are skirmishes between the military forces and the New People's Army (NPA) in Surigao del Sur.

"Tuwing may operation, magpabakwit-bakwit. Kaya noong last time, hinarangan ko iyong bakwit nila, kasi dadalhin nila iyong mga bata (Everytime there are skirmishes they will evacuate the IPs including the children)," he said.

They use the evacuation site as a backdrop in taking photos of the children and send them abroad to seek donations.

He said it has been a long-time problem. He pities the use of children, some of them were one or two years old.

"Nagtaka ako, bakit pati mga taga-Bukidnon, taga-Misamis dito umabot rito na wala naman silang pakialam. Iyon pala, ang hinihintay nila, ang mga darating na mga foreigner para magbigay ng ayuda sa kanila, magbigay ng donation sa kanila in dollars through mga NGO (I wonder why even those residents of Bukidnon and Misamis were brought here, they have nothing to do with it. So I thought, they were waiting for the aid, donations (in dollars) are pouring in from incoming foreigners through non-government organizations)," he lamented.

Pimentel has been questioning why Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat resisted registering the schools with the Department of Education (DepEd) for accreditation.

"Ang hiling ko lang naman sa kanila, kung legal iyang eskuwelahan na iyan, bakit ayaw nila magpa-accredit sa DepEd? (My only request to them is, if that school is legal, why don't they let the DepEd accredit the schools?)," Pimentel said during the June 21 episode of "Tagged: Debunking Lies by Telling the Truth."

The governor has ordered the closure of the TRIFPSS and the ALCADEV.

"Kaya isinara ko iyong esluwelahan, naglagay kami ng alternative school diyan, naglagay kami ng (That's why I shut down the schools, we put up alternative schools in there, we set up) temporary school building, which is accredited (by the) DepEd curriculum," he said.

Both schools are also believed to be influenced by the communist groups and serve as recruitment haven for the NPA rebels.

The closure of the schools, followed by the opening of two DepEd accredited IP schools, believed to be the reason why Datu Jumar Bucales, a former Indigenous Peoples Mandatory (IPMR) in Lianga town, was brutally killed by NPA rebels in October last year.

Pimentel recalled that Cullamat, who belongs to the Manobo tribe and herself a native of Lianga, is among those who opposed the construction and development of the DepEd-accredited IP schools in the area.

The Communist Party of the Philippines - NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)



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