PASIG CITY, December 4, 2018 – The Department of Education (DepEd), through DepEd Region XI, confirms that it did not order the closure of any school serving Indigenous Peoples (IP) learners. This is in view of a recent claim that a Salugpongan learning center in the region was closed “upon the orders of the Department.”

DepEd Region XI reports further that the tribal leaders of an IP community in Talaingod, Davao del Norte held a press conference morning of December 3 and stated that the closure of a Salugpongan learning center was a community decision supported by a resolution issued by the IP community council.

Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanon Community Learning Center, Inc. is one of the three groups of private learning institutions operating in the region that have been granted with permit to operate in 2014. Currently, there are 73 private learning institutions distributed in the region, with most of the learning centers found in Davao del Norte.

“Permit to operate” refers to temporary authority to operate granted by DepEd to a private learning institution and is granted to an applicant still in the process of completing the requirements for full recognition. Meanwhile, “recognition” refers to the granting of authority to operate by the DepEd to a private learning institution after submission of application requirements, and its consequent approval following the application procedure provided in these guidelines.

Partnership with the community
The Department continuously recognizes and supports the valuable contribution of non-government and community-led institutions in helping improve access to culture-based basic education through the Indigenous Peoples Education (IPEd) initiatives.

It is in the belief and confidence in the role of and partnership with private institutions and community stakeholders that the Department consistently underscores the importance for these learning institutions to secure recognition and permit to operate from their respective DepEd regional office.

The same is enshrined in DepEd Order No. 21 (DO 21), series 2014, or the Guidelines on the Recognition of Private Learning Institutions Serving Indigenous Peoples Learners. Under the said DO, regional offices of DepEd, together with the schools division offices, are in-charge of the application and related processes.

More importantly, private learning institutions serving IP learners are constantly and strongly encouraged to apply for recognition to assure that their learners’ grade level are recognized in the event that a learner transfers or enrolls in a public school or a recognized private learning institution.

DepEd puts a premium on the process of dialogue as it has been one of the core foundations of our work with IP communities. The Department continues to dialogue with the communities concerned and key stakeholders, and takes succeeding steps guided by the commitment to arrive at decisions that are in the best interest of the IP learners’ education.