Senate report: Occasional police presence needed in schools
MANILA, Philippines— After investigating the alleged recruitment of students by leftist groups, a joint panel of the Senate has found a “justified need” to allow the presence of a “reasonable number” of police forces in school premises.
The joint panel, composed of the Senate committees on public order and national defense, also recommended the filing of administrative sanctions against teachers instigating their students to participate in rallies and street demonstrations that advocate radical and subversive ideologies.
These findings and recommendations were contained in Committee Report No. 10 signed by 17 senators.
Those who signed the report were Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, chair of the public order committee; Senators Panfilo Lacson, Francis Tolentino, Christopher “Bong” Go, Manny Pacquiao, Richard Gordon, Lito Lapid, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Joel Villanueva, Imee Marcos, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay, and Sherwin Gatchalian; Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri; Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto; and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
In signing the committee report, however, Drilon indicated that he affixed his signature “only for the purpose of submitting the report for plenary debate/consideration.”
Of the 23 members of the joint panel, only six did not sign the report, and they were Senators Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.
“Amidst threats of terrorism, prevalence of recruitment of students as armed combatants, increased criminality rates, reported incidence of drug-related problems within the campus, there is a justified need for the school authorities to occasionally allow the presence of a reasonable number of police forces in the school premises at an acceptable designated time,” the report said.
“In relation with the issue of recruitment of students by insurgents, it is noteworthy to state that what is being monitored is not the expression of ideologies in whatever form (rallies, demonstrations, and other related activities), but the possibility and imminent danger on the part of the students to actually join the insurgency and take arms against the duly constituted authorities in the Government,” it added.
While recognizing the right of expression and academic freedom, the two committees said, “the exercise of these rights should observe lawful limitations, and should not, at any time, sacrifice the rights and interests of the youth who may end up as armed combatants for the communist groups.” /je
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