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2 local schools deny any involvement in terrorism

Two local non-government organizations (NGOs) running two schools here in the Philippines cried foul over accusations made by Turkish Ambassador Esra Cankorur that they are involved in terrorist activities.

In a statement sent to the media, senior officials of the Integrative Center for Alternative Development Foundation Inc. (“ICAD”) and Pacific Dialogue Foundation Inc. (PDF) said Filipino and Turkish citizens own the local schools.
Bora Aslan Cihangir Arslan, public relations director, said the two local schools mentioned by the Turkish ambassador offer a secular education under the Cambridge system. These are: the Filipino-Turkish Tolerance School in Zamboanga City and Fountain International School in Metro Manila.
“These schools do not teach religion. They accept students of all religious backgrounds as ICAD’s mandate is to promote peace and understanding through education among people of diverse cultures. The schools’ students come from more than 20 countries, including children of foreign dignitaries. With a Cambridge designed curriculum, aligned with DepEd standards, the schools focus on science and mathematics. Since its establishment in 1996, ICAD has graduated 358 from Manila and 773 from Zamboanga, around 150 of whom were scholars of ICAD,” Arslan said.
Nevertheless, the NGO officials vowed their full cooperation in any probe by Philippine authorities in response to the charges raised by the Turkish envoy.
They also expressed confidence that the accusations will be debunked during the investigation.
Arslan said that despite strong representations by the Turkish government on these countries, their investigations have concluded that neither the Hizmet Movement nor its founder Fethullah Gulen has ever been involved in terrorist activities.
The NGO officials expressed support to Fethullah Gulen’s principles of openness and tolerance among all people by offering secular educational opportunities in the Philippines regardless of religion or beliefs.
Moreover, the affiliated schools in approximately 150 countries, as allegedly linked to the same accusations by the Turkish ambassador, are legally operating in various countries, including the United States, Belgium, France, Australia, Japan, South Africa and Germany.
“We write in reference to the statements of Hon. Esra Cankorur, ambassador of Turkey to the Philippines, to Philippine news organizations on July 12, 2017, where she alluded to the Integrative Center for Alternative Development Foundation, Inc. (“ICAD”) and Pacific Dialogue Foundation Inc. (PDF), together with the two schools it operates, as part of a group that has been accused by Turkey of being terrorists and instigating the 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey. We thank you for giving ICAD and PDF an opportunity to air their side of the matter. At the outset, ICAD and PDF vehemently deny that they are terrorist organizations and that they participated in the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey,” they said.
“We do not and have never had any links with any group involved in terror attacks,” ICAD and PDF added, saying they have never been involved in any criminal activities, much less terrorist activities in the Philippines or elsewhere.
Arslan said both ICAD and PDF are not affiliated with any terrorist organization. Fountain International School provides Cambridge-accredited academic direction and standards to lead students toward a successful future.
“ICAD and PDF are open to providing any information about their operations and will do anything to clear their good name and reputation, which they have built through the hard work of their directors, officers and teachers. We would like to ask if you could unlink the part of the news which mentions the problems in Marawi. This creates an impression that ICAD and PDF have some affiliations with the problems. We hope our request merits your kind consideration and that you will allow us to eventually present a well-informed statement on the truth about PDF and ICAD,” the group said.


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