By Rjhay E. Laurea
PASIG CITY — Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte directed the Department of Education (DepEd) to strictly observe the “zero-tolerance policy” for all forms of abuses perpetrated in our schools, especially against our learners.
An official statement issued by DepEd spokesperson Atty. Michael Poa said that the Department is already collecting data about these issues as an initial step to making educational institutions a safe haven for the youth.
“DepEd is taking all reports about sexual abuse and violence against our learners in schools seriously as we are determined to ensure that schools all over the country are safe spaces for our learners and free from sexual predators,” Poa said.
“We understand that reporting experiences of sexual abuse and violence are often hampered by fear and feeling of embarrassment, but we urge Kindergarten to Grade 12 victim-survivors to report these incidents directly to the Office of the Secretary,” he added.
Meanwhile, in the controversial sexual harassment cases involving our educators, five (5) out of seven (7) teachers accused in Bacoor, Cavite are now facing administrative cases with a 90-day preventive suspension after DepEd formally filed charges against them. The Department failed to acquire enough evidence to indict the two other teachers.
“Natapos na po yung fact-finding or yung preliminary investigation diyan sa case natin sa Bacoor, Cavite. Ang update po namin diyan is out of the 7 na mga teachers that were identified in the post, nag-isyu na po tayo ng formal charge sa 5 sa kanila (The fact-finding or preliminary investigation in the case of Bacoor, Cavite was already done. Our update was out of the 7 teachers that were identified in the post, formal charges were issued against 5 of them),” Poa said.
Poa encouraged all the victims of sexual abuse in schools to come out so they can file their affidavits, statement, and evidence so we can make those teachers accountable to the rule of law.
For those who have complaints of sexual abuse on campuses, you can email your complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org, call landlines 8633-1942, 8635-9817, or the mobile phone 09959218461 which is available even after office hours.
“Your personal information and the nature of your reports will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Help us help you bring these perpetrators to justice and end sexual abuse and violence in our schools,” Poa disclosed. (ai/mtvn)