MANILA - Davao del Norte Governor Anthony Del Rosario said the group of Leftist leader Satur Ocampo was stopped at a checkpoint in Talaingod town because they went to the Salugpongan Lumad school without his consent.
Speaking to ANC Monday, Governor Del Rosario said he was not in the capitol when Ocampo, ACT-Teachers Rep. France Castro, and the rest of their group were asking for his permission to go to the school for Lumad children.
"My administrator was able to relay to me the request of Mr. Satur for a written consent for him to go up to Talaingod. I denied the request for a written consent simply because it was not clear to me what his purpose was for going there," he said.
"I wanted first to talk to him but unfortunately it turned out he decided to go that evening without our consent. As a result he was stopped at the checkpoint. With regards to the consent, we never gave him the consent," Del Rosario said added.
Ocampo earlier said they tried to reach Del Rosario's office several times beginning Tuesday so they can bring food to the Salugpongan school, following reports of a supply blockade being implemented in the area.
He said they decided to proceed to Talaingod Wednesday evening after they got information that Salugpongan school had been padlocked by paramilitary troops, forcing teachers and Lumad students to flee in the middle of the night.
Ocampo said it was an emergency situation as they came to the rescue of the fleeing teachers and students. However, they were stopped at a checkpoint when the group was transporting the kids to the Salugpongan main office in Tagum City.
The group of Ocampo was arrested and detained at the Talaingod police station for alleged kidnapping and human trafficking. They were only formally charged on Thursday morning. They remained in detention until they posted bail on Saturday.
Lumad school defying DepEd curriculum?
Governor Del Rosario said the Salugpongan school for Lumad children in Talaingod town had been operating for over a decade already, having been accredited by the government under different administrations.
However, the governor said he was recently receiving reports from the military that the school was not following the curriculum set by the Department of Education, even teaching the Lumad children "pro-Left" subjects.
"We have been getting reports from the Philippine Army that they have not been following the DepEd curriculum, na meron ho silang sariling curriculum na tinuturo sa mga bata which is from my understanding is pro-Left, and that is a concern," Del Rosario said.
"The order for closure was from the local government of Talaingod. This is being supported by the tribal councils of the area. These are schools located in tribal areas not being chaired by DepEd," the governor added.
Rep. Castro denied these claims, saying the Salugpongan's curriculum was approved by the government. She even dared PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, who accused Salugpongan of not following the DepEd curriculum, to visit Lumad schools.
"Hindi naman totoo iyan. Actually ito (school) ay government recognized, pati iyung curriculum nito," the party-list lawmaker told radio DZMM. (That is not true. This school and its curriculum are recognized by the government.)
The Makabayan bloc earlier said it will file counter-charges once they are finished facing the raps filed against Ocampo, Castro, and 16 others involved in the rescue mission in Talaingod.