Group alarmed by murder of teacher in Maguindanao

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03:51 PM April 11th, 2012

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By: Tarra Quismundo, April 11th, 2012 03:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines—A teachers’ welfare group  expressed alarm Wednesday over the killing of another teacher in Maguindanao as it reiterated the call for greater state protection of educators, especially those in conflict areas.

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) renewed its call on the authorities to provide better security for teachers and school officials as another fell victim in North Cotabato this week.

A police field report showed that 52-year-old Taya Sabal Las Marias, an official at the DEpEd office in Pagalungan town, Maguindanao, was shot to death Monday while napping in a rocking chair in front of her boarding house in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

The gunman and his accomplice fled on a motorcycle after the shooting.

“It’s still our call for government to give better protection. When teachers become targets of criminal elements, they are very helpless,” said TDC chair Benjo Basas.

“Some cases are not related to their jobs while others are related.  But all these incidents are very alarming.  Teachers are soft targets. But at least some cases are being resolved,” he added.

He called for more presence of law enforcement authorities around schools to better guard school communities.

“If there are police officers on patrol, criminals will think twice about attacking teachers,” said Basas.

The group also called for increased risk subsidy for teachers, including “hardship” allowance for teachers walking great distances to schools and hazard pay for teachers in conflict areas.

“Teachers are very gentle, very caring. It is unjust for teachers to die in a violent way,” he said.

Basas recalled that at least eight teachers have been killed in separate incidents of violence in different parts of the country since last year.

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