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Red schools get int’l aid

Mario J. Mallari

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Apart from its solicitation activities in Europe, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) is also cashing in at the expense of the indigenous people (IP) groups in Mindanao through the use of Salugpungan International to source foreign funding, including from the United States, for local schools that indoctrinate students with Maoist ideals.

In an interview by the Daily Tribune, Datu Bawan Jacob Lanes, executive director of Mindanao Indigenous People Council of Elders and Leaders (MIPCEL), said the CPP-NPA uses the Salugpungan International to raise donations.

Lanes said that in the US, the CPP-NPA, through Salugpungan International, gets financial assistance through an adoption scheme.

“They have these ‘adopt an IP’ scheme which calls for $2 in donation from a person or entity; ‘adopt a student’ for $2, ‘adopt a teacher’ for $5 and ‘adopt a school and community’ for $5 each,” Lanes told the Daily Tribune. The donations can be without limit, he added.

Lanes, however, would not know how much the CPP-NPA collects for such schemes and what other areas or countries where donations are collected.

IP exploited

“While some of our relatives are with the Salugpungan International, the amount being donated does not really go to the benefit of the IP, actually huge portion goes to the CPP-NPA,” said Lanes.

Datu Guibang Apuga, of the Ata Manobo tribe of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, was among the founding officer of Salugpungan International.

However, he broke away from the CPP-NPA after realizing the communist deception and manipulation of IP communities.

Currently, most officers of the Salugpungan International are relatives of MIPCEL members and elders.

“They are still blinded by the communist deception and we want to get them back to our communities,” said Datu Makapandaw Nestor Apas of the Langilan Manobo tribe.

“There’s no surprise with what they’re doing at Salugpungan International. Even us, they taxed us with our pigs and chickens,” Apas added.

European funding

Last March, the Philippine government, through National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., urged the European Union (EU) and the Belgian government to stop providing funding to legal fronts of the CPP-NPA, masquerading as non-government organizations (NGO).

In the letter, Esperon also listed three Belgian NGO which have “indirectly and unwittingly partnered” with various NGO in the Philippines that act as legal fronts of the CPP-NPA, namely the SOLIDAGRO, Viva Salud and KIYO.

On the other hand, among the listed Philippine NGO were the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV); IBON Foundation; Karapatan; Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc.; the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines; the Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc.; the Alliance of Health Workers; the Kilusang Mayo Uno; Gabriela; and ACT.

Shut schools down

A ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Salugpungan schools must be immediately shut down for recruiting children to become radicals and subversives, and have caused the deaths of tribal leaders opposing their operation.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict said this is regardless whether these schools have acquired the necessary permits from the Department of Education (DepEd).

“The issue here is not the validity of the documents. This is about morality in allowing the continuation of these schools, now that we know that the community itself do not want them to operate anymore,” Parlade said.

Parlade said it is pointless to discuss whether these Salugpungan schools comply with procedures because the issue is more of a moral one, considering that the communities they are claiming as their niche are rejecting them.

“It’s like a faucet with poisoned water flowing out of it. Do we need to argue whether to close the valve or not?” he asked.

Last April, tribal leaders in Davao del Norte urged the government to shut down these Salugpungan schools as the DepEd is too slow in addressing their demands to close down these educational institutions that the military links to CPP-NPA, a terrorist-listed organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Parlade chided militant groups affiliated with the Makabayan bloc for not attending two of three legs of a Congressional inquiry and ocular inspections in Davao City on April 16 and in Surigao del Sur on 28-29 April to validate claims that they are used by the CPP-NPA to turn the youths against the government.

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