CHR: Region 5 team already probing alleged molestation of CamSur teachers
MANILA, Philippines — Human rights workers in Region 5 are already probing the alleged molestation experienced by four teachers at an elementary school in Ocampo town of Camarines Sur, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) assured on Wednesday.
CHR Executive Director Jacqueline de Guia in a statement said that the Commission condemns the abuse inflicted upon the teachers perpetrated by a suspect who also robbed them inside an elementary school in the said town.
According to De Guia, they are calling on authorities from the local government, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure accountability so that similar attempts would be deterred.
“[CHR] condemns in the strongest terms the abuse of four elementary school teachers perpetrated by an unarmed suspect in the municipality of Ocampo in Camarines Sur province on 8 August 2022,” De Guia said.
“As Gender Ombud, the CHR office in Region V is conducting motu propio probe to aid in ensuring justice for the teachers. An initial investigation was conducted 10 August 2022. We call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and all concerned local agencies to ensure swift accountability of the attacker. This kind of traumatic abuse and crime within schools must be aggressively resolved for the redress of victims and to deter future similar incidents,” she added.
CHR said that according to DepEd, the victims were actually preparing for the school opening when they experienced abuse inside the campus. As of now, police are still doing a manhunt operation to subdue the suspect.
De Guia said that schools should be safe havens for teachers and students.
“It is reprehensible that our valuable and committed teachers suffered such a brazen act of abuse. It is also utterly alarming that this gender-based violence happened on school grounds, which are supposed to be safe havens for learners and teachers,” she noted.
After the incident, DepEd under Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte called for more security guards to ensure peace and order in public schools while expressing the intention to stop using schools as isolation facilities and long-term evacuation centers to avoid similar attacks and abuses.
De Guia said CHR lauds DepEd’s quick action, agreeing that there is a need to stop using schools as evacuation facilities.
“CHR recognizes the immediate action being done by the DepEd in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Department of Budget and Management in signing a Joint Memorandum Circular that allows the use of the Special Education Fund to hire at least one security personnel for each school,” De Guia said.
“The use of schools as isolation facilities, quarantine facilities, and long-term evacuation centers shall also be prohibited by the issuance to limit the use of school facilities and classrooms for learners and school personnel only. The joint issuance is a concrete step in institutionalizing tighter security and in preventing attacks in school zones,” she added.
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