The Social Development Council (SDC), through the Center for Community Extension Services (CCES), under the leadership of Fr. Albert E. Alejo SJ, Assistant to the President for Social Development, made possible the blessing and inauguration of the School for Indigenous People last June 23, 2012 at Sitio Monte Central, Patalon, Zamboanga City.
Attending the Subanen blessing ceremony and inauguration were Department of Education – Alternative Learning System (ALS) Division Supervisor Dr. Benzali Hassan, Labuan District Supervisor Dr. Quirico Duterte, Barangay Chairman of Patalon Gaudencio Roxas with his Council Members, and the Subanon Tribal Council led by Timuay Boy Sanggadan and Timuay Bakil Gumandao.
The inauguration was followed by the distribution of bags and school supplies to 123 children present by the Rotaract and Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA). Fr. Alejo also handed over to the tribal leader two (2) Subanen books entitled “Subanan” and “Silami’n Lumad” which will serve as reference and reading materials for the school.
The School for Indigenous People at Monte Central is the first learning center in the city that provides a learning system that is appropriate, relevant, and responsive to the call of indigenous people. The crafting of the national policy framework for the indigenous peoples (IPs) education by the Department of Education last year has paved the way for the building of the said learning facility.
In partnership with the Assisi Development Foundation, the CCES coordinated with different indigenous peoples at Monte Central starting last year. As a result, 152 children from these communities have been enrolled in the Indigenous Peoples Education and Development (IPED) program. The program will be operated by CCES for a period of 3 years and will be sustained by the DepEd by 2014.
As this breakthrough signifies an opportunity for learning that the indigenous groups may enjoy, it also marks the growing commitment of the Department of Education “to set up an educational system that is truly inclusive and respectful of the diversity of learners especially those belonging to the minority groups.”