/ 19 February 2021

THE DEPARTMENT of Education said that the University of San Carlos-Talamban campus has no permit to conduct blended learning classes for Lumad children.

DepEd-7 Regional Director Salustiano Jimenez said the children from Davao del Norte and Sultan Kudarat would be considered as “illegally enrolled” if USC could not present a permit to conduct blended learning.

“We will find out in the Learners Information System of DepEd if the names of those IP students are listed. If we can’t find their names in the LIS and they have no assigned learner’s reference numbers, then they are considered as illegally enrolled,” Jimenez said.

Members of the Police Regional Office 7 and Department of Social Welfare and Development on Monday, February 15, 2021, conducted a rescue operation in the university’s retreat house, where the Lumad students have been staying since March 2020.

Jimenez said the USC has not provided DepEd-7 information about the presence of a Lumad Bakwit School and enrolled students who are not from Cebu and Central Visayas.

He stressed that DepEd will not recognize the achievements of the children even if they would graduate from institutions that have not secured state clearance.

“The Lumad Bakwit School’s move to bring the IP children to Cebu for education does not pass the criteria of a student exchange program because the children are just hopping from one province to another in the country,” Jimenez said.

In a joint statement, the USC and Societas Verbi Divini Philippines Southern Province claimed the Lumad children who were taken by police were being “nurtured, cared for and treated with their best interest in mind” in the retreat house.

But the DepEd-7 chief argued that the LBS’ system is not acceptable for children who are still in the basic education level, pointing out the need for them to be placed under close parental guidance.

“That’s why our schools are static. They are in the community where the learners are residing. They should go to school under the guidance and direction of their parents,” he added.

Jimenez said DepEd will find out if other private institutions in Cebu also accepted IP children from Mindanao for modular-type learning.