/ 19 February 2021

LUMAD students who took refuge in the University of San Carlos-Talamban campus were taught lessons based on the approved curriculum of the Department of Education, according to the Save Our Schools Network.

SOSN-Cebu said the Lumad students were enrolled in the Malabuan High School and Bulakanon National High School in Makilala, North Cotabato for blended learning.

“The modules that were used by the Lumad students were even provided by DepEd through the aforementioned public schools in Mindanao. Even prior to the pandemic, professors from the University of the Philippines-Cebu, who volunteered to teach the Lumad students, aligned their discussions with the DepEd course guides available and downloadable in their own website,” the group said.

“The Lumad students also have a Learner Reference Number, which is a twelve-digit number assigned by the DepEd to a student as they go through the basic education program,” it added.

However, DepEd-7 regional director Salustiano Jimenez said the children would be considered as “illegally enrolled” if the USC could not present a permit to conduct such kind of blended learning.

He said USC has not provided DepEd-7 information about enrolled students of LBS who are not from Cebu and Central Visayas.

“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.

Police Regional Office 7 and officials of the Department of Social Welfare and Development on Monday conducted an operation inside the USC-TC supposedly to rescue the Lumad minors.

The police called it a “rescue operation” but the SOSN called it a “raid”.

The network urged the government to immediately release three adult Lumad students, two volunteer teachers, and two community elders in the custody of PRO-7 and are facing charges of kidnapping, human trafficking, and violation of the Anti-Child Abuse law.