DepEd statement on attack of
armed rebels in North Cotabato schools
PASIG CITY, June 23 – Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones
continues to reiterate that schools and learning spaces are zones of peace,
and maintains that the security and safety of learners, teaching and
non-teaching personnel are the foremost priority in the event of conflict,
disaster, and emergency.
Classes in Vicente Rapacon Elementary School and Malingao Elementary School
in the Midsayap Southwest District were immediately suspended yesterday
following a clash between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the
Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Schools were immediately vacated
and teachers from both schools already reported to the district office,
according to North Cotabato Schools Division Superintendent Omar Obas.
Classes were also suspended in all Pigcawayan West District schools due to
an armed clash in the barangays of Simsiman and Malagakit.
However, Malagakit Elementary School was reportedly damaged, while Simsiman
High School confirmed that its offices and computer room were ransacked by
the rebel group early in the morning. One school guard on duty managed to
escape multiple shots fired at him and sought refuge at a nearby military
detachment unit. He suffered no injury.
According to the latest report from the field, 106 learners of Malagakit
Elementary School and their families were already tracked, while one teacher
of Pigcawayan National High School and her family were reportedly evacuated
by authorities from their house located near the conflict area.
As of June 22, affected learners and teachers are undergoing debriefing and
psychological intervention through the assistance of nurses and trained
teachers from the Division Office of North Cotabato. Classes in Midsayap
Southwest have been resumed while classes in Pigcawayan are still suspended.
Although the extent of the damage is yet to be concluded, the Department
assures that no learner and personnel were held hostage. (DepEd)