CHR wants probe of attack vs Bukidnon teachers; aide for victims, students
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) vowed Tuesday to conduct an investigation into the attempted murder of two public school teachers in Valencia City, Bukidnon on Oct. 15, adding that the Department of Education (DepEd) should provide necessary assistance to the victims and students who witnessed the attack.
Couple teachers Zhaydee and Ramil Cabañalez, both members of progressive group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), were shot in front of their students inside their classroom in Dalit Elementary School, Valencia City, Bukidnon by a fully-masked man, leaving Zhaydee with 6 gunshot wounds while Ramil managed to avoid the attack.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said this kind of direct assault to members of education union in broad daylight “signifies a deeply concerning situation with respect to their freedom of association and professional freedoms.”
“The Commission will coordinate closely with ACT in conducting an independent investigation of the case, while we continue to demand the government to secure full protection of the rights and welfare of education workers and other progressive professional organizations pursuing their respective causes,” she added in a statement.
The Commission also called on the police to conduct an investigation of the crime scene to shed light on the frustrated slay, citing reports from co-teachers and parents of their students that there has been no probe launched yet.
The attack also has detrimental effects on academic achievement and the social and emotional growth of impacted children, according to De Guia.
“We seek the help of the Department of Education, Department of Health and the local government unit to ensure that the victims receive proper medical attention, while also providing psychosocial services to students and teachers present during the incident who experienced distress and trauma from witnessing the attack,” she added.
Last Thursday, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro urged Education Sec. Leonor Briones to take a stand and break her silence on the shooting incident.
The DepEd responded and said its regional office in Northern Mindanao has already launched a probe into the attack.
“Education Secretary Leonor Briones instructed DepEd Regional Office X and the Schools Division Office of Valencia City to submit complete incident reports and to obtain investigation reports from the authorities,” it added. /jpv
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