/ 4 March 2022

ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro on Thursday challenged all candidates running for national office to take a stand
for Lumads and help reopen schools shut down by the government.

Castro made the call as she condemned the killing of teachers Chad Booc and Gelejurain Ngujo II.

“They only want Lumad schools to reopen after years of being forcibly closed,” she said in a statement.

“This time, the victims are not just education activists—they were activists for the education of the Lumad peoples,” she added.

Castro said that the victims were activists and volunteers who went to New Bataan and other areas where Lumad schools used to operate to find out and assess how to conduct safe reopening of classes there.

“These Lumad schools were the ones that government forcibly closed with a combination of violence and weaponized law. And now, the military has tortured and killed, and continues to vilify the ones who work tirelessly to ensure that such schools reopen and once again serve Lumad children,” the lawmaker added.

She claimed that the victims were unarmed when they were killed.

“We will always remember Teacher Chad, Teacher Jurain, and community health worker Elgyn who chose the life of service for the marginalized and oppressed over a life of comfort or silence,” Castro said.