Gov’t eyes to stop use of schools as isolation facilities, long-term evac centers

schools as evacuation sites

(FILE) Several Senate bills propose to limit the use of schools as evacuation centers so as not to disrupt the students’ education have gained support from various sectors, although finding and providing other safe alternative sites is easier said than done. photo by JOAN BONDOC.

MANILA, Philippines — The government is eyeing to stop using schools as isolation facilities, quarantine facilities, and long-term evacuation centers after four teachers were allegedly molested inside a school in Ocampo town, Camarines Sur province.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said it is drafting a joint memorandum circular with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to limit the use of school facilities and classrooms to learners and school personnel.

The said memorandum will also emphasize using the Special Education Fund (SEF) to hire at least one security personnel per school and repair and construct school buildings.

DepEd said it “strongly” condemns the sexual abuse committed against the teachers preparing for the opening of the School Year 2022-2023 on August 22.

It also said it would provide financial assistance and psychosocial intervention to the four teachers.

“We denounce any acts of violence and injustice towards our teachers, who have been showing their dedication and effort to deliver equitable, resilient, inclusive, and quality education to our learners,” DepEd said in a statement.

“The Department has already instructed the field office concerned to coordinate with the authorities to assist them throughout the investigation. The Department will provide the necessary aid to the victims, including financial assistance and psychosocial intervention,” it added.

The Philippine National Police earlier said it had identified the suspect in the alleged molestation of the four teachers.

It added they were preparing the charges while their operatives were conducting an operation to locate and arrest the suspect, who remains at large.

Police said the armed suspect, with his face covered, entered the teachers’ office and molested them last Aug. 8.

Initial reports said the suspect first declared a hold-up and took the cellphones and cash of the victims. He then violated the victims in the office in an isolated campus area.

The police withheld the names of the victims and the suspect as the investigation continued.