The funds will be used for the memorial of victims of New Bataan 5 Massacre. It will be intended for their funeral rites, legal aid, and assistance to their families left behind.
Save our Schools Network is a Philippine-based network of child rights advocates, organizations and various stakeholders working together to bring light and take action on the ongoing violation of the Lumad (indigenous) peoples right to education, ancestral lands and self-determination, particularly those in the context of militarization, attacks on schools and development aggression.
Lumad school volunteer teachers Chad Booc, Gelejurain Nguho II, community health worker Elegyn Balongan, and two accompanying drivers Robert Aragon and Tirso Añar, were traveling from New Bataan, Davao de Oro, Philippines where they were conducting a community visit as part of their research work. They were on their w`ay back to Davao City, Philippines when they were massacred due to the militarization in the area.
Chad was a graduate of University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) with a cum laude degree in Computer Science. He turned down a career and life of comfort to instead serve as a volunteer teacher. In 2016, he volunteered to be a teacher for ALCADEV (an indigenous school) in a rural community. In 2020, Chad joined Lumad students and elders in their Cebu-based sanctuary. He was part of the Bakwit School 7 who were raided, arrested, and jailed without a warrant in 2021. Even though the Bakwit 7 were released due to lack of evidence to support the police's claims, Chad was immediately given new trumped-up charges once free. Chad feared for his life as he was still receiving threats.
Teacher Jurain came from an impoverished farming family but able to graduate from Liceo de Davao College with a degree in Secondary Education majoring in English through a lumad school scholarship program. He was known for being patient, caring, and soft-spoken. Immediately after graduating, Jurain embodied the mission of the Lumad education, which is to use one’s skills and knowledge to then serve marginalized communities by becoming a teacher for the Community Technical College of Southeastern Mindanao (CTCSM). After a year, he decided to become a volunteer teacher for the Bakwit School in Manila in 2018, and then in Cebu in 2019 and 2020. Jurain would send the small monthly stipend he earns each month to his family, instead of keeping it for himself.
Both Chad and Jurain were integral members of the Save Our Schools Network and beloved by their students.
Elegyn Balonga was a community health worker who served in UCCP Haran, a Lumad sanctuary in Davao City, from 2013 to 2018. She also facilitated medical students interning in the Lumad sanctuary at United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran. Elegyn volunteered for numerous medical missions in remote lumad communities in their ancestral domain of the Pantaron Mountain Range. She lived a life of serving the Lumad, farmers, and workers with dignified and responsive health care.
Save Our Schools Network is raising funds for the following:
1. Airfare, grounds transportation, accommodations for the family members of Chad, Gelejurain, Edlyn and their two drivers to Davao de Oro so they can claim the victims' bodies.
2. Transportation of their remains back to their respective homes and community.
3. Expenses for their interment and funeral rites/memorial services.
4. Fees for legal assistance for SOS Network to push for an immediate and impartial investigation of the massacre.
5. A portion of the funds will go directly to families of the victims. Four of the five victims came from poor backgrounds and relied on them to make ends meet.
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