Gatchalian slams Masbate clashes; urges AFP to work with DepEd for school safety
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday decried the recent string of armed encounters in Masbate, some of which took place near schools.
The Philippine Army and the New People’s Army had clashed several times in the province, prompting schools to suspend their classes for safety concerns.
“I cannot fathom the trauma that these incidents caused to our learners and their communities. I strongly denounce these acts. I reiterate that nothing could justify how the lives of our learners and their teachers were endangered,” he said in a statement.
The Department of Education (DepED) has similarly slammed the clashes, saying that they had caused trauma to students and school personnel.
Gatchalian, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, has urged authorities to work with DepEd to ensure safety in schools.
“In light of these recent incidents, I am strongly urging the police and military authorities to work closely with the [DepEd] and our local government units in ensuring the safety of our schools, especially those in areas that are prone to attacks by rebels. It is also crucial that our law and security enforcers remain alert so we can avert similar incidents,” said Gatchalian.
The senator vowed to work with those affected by the clashes.
“I will continue to work with our different stakeholders to identify further steps to ensure the safety of our learners, our teachers, and their communities,” he said.