DepEd-11 forms Salugpongan fact-finding team

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DAVAO CITY–A fact-finding committee has been created to investigate the Salugpungan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon Community Learning Centers Inc. (STICLCI), whose 55 schools around Davao Region have been suspended because of alleged links to the communist rebel movement.

Jenelieto Atillo, Department of Education-Region 11 (DepEd-11) spokesperson, said Monday the five-member committee has already conducted assessments on the available evidence as part of the investigation into the case.

Atillo said the committee’s evaluation will be key into the final decision whether to lift the suspension order or to totally revoke STICLCI’s permit to operate.

He said the committee was created following the allegations of National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon that the 55 STICLCI-run schools in Region 11 were used as training and recruitment centers for the New People’s Army (NPA).

Esperon’s allegations were based on the testimonies of former STICLCI students and teachers.

One of the teachers, Melvin Loyod, claimed in his affidavit that Salugpungan learners were taught with rebellion tactics against the government.

Loyod was assigned to a Salungponan school in Sitio Pongpong, Barangay Sto. Niño Talaingod, Davao del Norte, which has since stopped operating following clamor from local authorities and tribal leaders, who alleged that the school was teaching their learners NPA ideologies.

However, Atillo said the fact-finding team will not only rely on Loyod’s testimonies but would dig deeper into the issue. 

“We will not only limit ourselves with the statement of Secretary Esperon and Loyod. All concerned agencies and personnel and all angles related to the case will also be studied,” he added.

He also said the team will talk to STICLCI officials to get their side. -PNA

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