The police raided the Bakwit School serving as temporary school of Lumad evacuees at the University of San Carlos in Talamban, Cebu City on February 15. The Lumads and their teachers sought refuge at the university since March 2020 as they could not go back to Mindanao due to the lockdown. The university administrators consider them as their guests.
A video recording of the raid showed Lumad children screaming and crying while being forcibly taken by police. Twenty six individuals were arrested and detained, including 19 minors. Chad Booc, a volunteer teacher and petitioner against the Anti-Terror Law, was also arrested.
The police connived with the military, members of the Alamara paramilitary and local officials of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, to make it appear that the raid was a “rescue operation.” They charged Booc and six other volunteer teachers with kidnapping and illegal detention.
The illegal raid and arrest was met with widespread condemnation. Students of the Bakwit School in the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines along with their supporters immediately protested at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Even the CHR belied the claims of the police that the Lumad children were “coerced” to stay at the Bakwit School.
The Makabayan bloc filed a resolution in Congress to have the incident investigated. At the Supreme Court, the magistrates ordered petitioners to include the case of Booc in their written petition against the Anti-Terror Law.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines vowed to hold to account the Lumad exploiters. It condemned the NTF-ELCAC which was undoubtedly behind the incident.