175 Marawi teachers still missing
More than a hundred teachers affected by the nearly monthlong Marawi siege who remain unaccounted for may not have been held hostage by the Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorist group.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones told reporters in a press briefing that of the 1,411 teachers trapped in the besieged city, only 175 have yet to inform the Department of Education (DepEd) of their status and whereabouts.
Briones said it was still “too soon” to say that these teachers had gone missing, especially since tracking them remained a problem because of “difficulty in communications.”
“We are not aware of teachers being held hostage at this time,” Briones said.
Early this month, education officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were only able to meet with more than 600 teachers who informed them of their whereabouts.
ARMM Assistant Secretary for Academics Marjuni Maddi said the missing teachers were probably looking for food and shelter for their families, which was why they failed to report to the ARMM.
He assured the public, however, that efforts to track the remaining teachers were underway.
Maddi said the teachers would undergo a three-day psychosocial briefing this week to determine whether they can already be deployed in schools where students from Marawi have relocated.
To date, 7,487 Marawi students have transferred to various schools across 10 regions in the country, mostly in nearby Iligan City and Lanao del Norte.
Earlier, the DepEd said classes in Marawi would open on June 19. But as fighting between government troops and the Maute terrorist group enter its fourth week, Briones said the DepEd “can’t exactly say” when classes in the city of 200,000 would resume.
Once the military has liberated the city, Briones said the DepEd would reopen the Brigada Eskwela program to reestablish a sense of normalcy and rebuild the lives of teachers and students.
Maddi said seven schools in the city, such as Raya Madaya Elementary School and Marawi City Pilot School, had either been bombed or burned down because of the assault by Islamic militants.
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