The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women condemned the presence of armed police forces inside Longos Elementary School in Barangay Pangapisan, Alaminos City, Pangasinan during the first day of the limited face-to-face classes and called out the Department of Education (DepEd) to ensure the proper and strict implementation of DepEd Order No. 32, series of 2019 or the National Policy Framework on Learners and Schools as Zones of Peace.

“Guns and police forces have no place in schools. Lahat naman ay gustong maging ligtas ang balik-paaralan para sa higit na pagkatuto ng mga bata, lalo na ang mga nasa Kinder hanggang Grade 3. Teachers and non-teaching personnel can safely ensure the observation of health protocols without the unnecessary presence of armed government forces,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

“Thousands of rural communities, through the Duterte government’s counter-insurgency policies, have been subjected to military encampments resulting to threat, intimidation and trauma especially of women and children. Hindi makakatulong sap ag-aaral, makakasama pa nga na may nakikita ang mga bata at ang mga guro na armadong pulis sa loob ng mga paaralan,” Soriano added.

DO No. 32 states that “schools as a general rule, should be free from the presence of armed combatants, whether they be from government forces or armed groups. Armed force protection units from government forces, if needed, shall be situated proximate to the school and not inside the school.”

“We are hoping that DepEd will strictly monitor the face-to-face classes and ensure that similar incidents will not happen again. Moreover, we are calling for the government to provide bigger funding for education budget, urgently resolve the country’s health and socio-economic crisis, improve school facilities based on health protocols, guarantee accessible and quality education, protect and uphold teachers’ and school personnel’s rights and democratic consultation to stakeholders. ###

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