The Lumad 7, including volunteer Teacher Chad Booc, were released on May 13, 2021 after 3 months of illegal detention under the custody of the Philippine National Police. The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Davao del Norte found insufficient evidence, lack of probable cause, and lack of territorial jurisdiction on the charges filed against them.
Rei Paulin, National Coordinator of Katribu said, “The dismissal of the trumped up charges and the release of the Lumad 7 from illegal detention by the police is a victory of the people, particularly of the Lumad in their struggle for the right to education and self-determination. We laud the Lumad students and their teachers for remaining steadfast in the struggle despite the intensifying state attacks and persecution against the Lumad Bakwit Schools and their communities. This victory is a validation of the Lumad and the peoples’ strength to fight the tyrannical US-Duterte regime.”
The Lumad’s community effort in establishing the Lumad Schools to provide education to their children and youth is a manifestation and an assertion of their right to self determination. Teaching and establishing schools for the people is not a criminal nor a terrorist act. We hold the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and the US-Duterte regime accountable for these baseless accusations and relentless attacks to the Lumad Schools. We also hold the Department of Social Welfare and Development liable for becoming instruments of the military to detain, harass, and traumatize the Lumad.
“The Lumad and all indigenous peoples will persevere in the struggle for justice, right to education and self-determination. We will continue to resist the attacks and hold Duterte, the military and the police accountable for all their crimes and atrocities against indigenous peoples and their communities,” said Paulin.