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Probe sought on 'red-tagging' of Lumad schools in Sultan Kudarat

Militant lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc on Monday called for a congressional inquiry on the alleged harassment of teachers of community schools in Sultan Kudarat being tagged as "fronts for the New People's Army."

In a House resolution, the party-list congressmen claimed that local government officials have been harassing teachers of schools run by the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) and telling residents that the schools are connected with the communist group.

Among those accused in the resolution of "red-tagging" were officials of the local government, the Department of Education, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the police, and the military.

According to the resolution, armed and plainclothes-wearing police on October 11 hung tarpaulins labelling CLANS as "the entry point of deception of the NPA" or a front of the NPA and saying that CLANS and the schools they are managing are "fake and illegitimate."

The police also entered the school and started taking pictures of it, the lawmakers said.

The following day, the officials of Barangay Kipunget allegedly gathered the residents at a meeting where the "vilification" was repeated.

Municipal officials also allegedly distributed flyers with the same contents as the tarp, and told residents they would be given a P5,000 reward for those who can take pictures of the CLANS teachers or point out who the NPAs are.

Due to the threats and harassment, Diya Menuwa, which operates in 18 school sites in Palimbang, was forced to close for several days, according to the resolution. Classes in four sites have yet to resume as of Monday, it added.

"The resolution urges an immediate congressional investigation into these reports, and calls all concerned agencies to look into the allegations of the victims and to immediately put an end to all forms of attacks on Lumad schools and people's organizations," the lawmakers said in a statement. —Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News