MANILA, Philippines—Some 12,000 students from 38 public schools caught in the Zamboanga City crossfire between the military and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will continue to miss regular classes at least for the next three months, said Education Secretary Armin Luistro, who flew to Zamboanga City on Friday with officials of the Department of Education (DepEd).
But 167 of the 205 public schools, including annexes, in the city may resume classes as early as Monday once the city’s interagency crisis committee deems it already safe, Luistro said.
Classes in Zamboanga City have been suspended since Sept. 9 when the military engaged armed MNLF members who occupied five densely populated coastal barangays using civilians as human shields.
Some 188,000 students are enrolled in 171 public elementary schools and 34 high schools in Zamboanga City.
“According to DepEd division officials, 167 schools can already resume classes next week as long as they are given 24 hours’ notice by the Crisis Management Committee,” Luistro said in a statement.
The rest of the schools are in dire straits.