Through the Lens: Life and Politics in Asia

Making Local Education Work in the Philippines

The lumads see education as the key to development.

The Manobo tribe, who are mostly situated on the mountainous areas of northern Mindanao in the Philippines, have struggled to defend their ancestral lands from mining companies. Like many indigenous people, they blame a lack of education for signing contracts that yielded their lands in exchange for canned goods and dried fish. 

Educating the lumads (indigenous people) for free to help emancipate them from discrimination and truly thrive, the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV), was established near their communities.

In this video, the ALCADEV in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, celebrates the 13th anniversary of its foundation day, and recount episodes of evacuations due to bombings and the killings of their leaders. A teacher, a student and his mother express their worries about President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement to bomb all lumad schools. He alleged that they are teaching subversives. The ALCADEV’s executive director, a chairman of the farmers group, and a chieftain were killed by paramilitary forces in  September 2015. Despite the incident, classes and the students’ “farm time” continue, as the lumads are determined to achieve development through education.

The Breakaway Media is an interdisciplinary platform that challenges mainstream media’s social and political reports by delivering truthful narratives and accurate news coverage. Launched on December 10, 2016 to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, the institution is composed of journalists and researchers based in the Philippines.