A party list congressman representing the education sector made an urgent appeal to police authorities and government officials to secure schools nationwide, given the heightened security situation in Manila and other parts of the country which coincides with the nationwide opening of classes this June.
1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador “Bong” Belaro, Jr. emphasized the urgency of “protecting our youth in educational institutions,” adding that “security should not only be increased in hotels, malls and other commercial establishments.”
“We should in fact be prioritizing schools and universities. Let’s not be fooled into thinking that the so-called terror groups would only target casinos. The greater density of young Filipinos in schools on a daily basis makes our schools equally vulnerable as possible targets,” the party list solon stated.
Belaro called on greater police visibility plus better coordination with school authorities regarding the proper emergency measures that should be put in place to address any kind of emergency while school activities are ongoing.
“Millions of students would be returning to schools this month. We face a different situation now because of what’s happened – the recent bombings in Quiapo, the siege in Marawi and the tragic Resort World incident.”
The legislator-educator explained that he was not being alarmist, but stressed that it was better to be “vigilant, extremely careful and highly-prepared than to be sorry and regretful in the end.”
“We of course commend the PNP and the military for their quick responses to the recent security incidents. At the same time, we renew our call for them to step up measures at protecting our children especially in school zones nationwide,” Belaro noted.
The congressman further proposed the urgent creation of a task force composed of the Philippine National Police and education officials from the DepEd, CHED, private school organizations nationwide to draw up concrete security protocols.
“Let’s consider this as an extremely urgent concern. The last thing we need right now is a disruption of classes because of lapses in security in our educational institutions.