DepEd urges victims of sexual abuse to come forward and press charges

The Ministry of Education is currently investigating seven teachers at Bacoor National High School in Cavite

MANILA, Philippines – On Thursday, September 1, the Department of Education (DepEd) urged alleged victims of sexual abuse at Bacoor National High School (BNHS), Cavite to file their complaint affidavits.

“Although nagtutuloy ‘yung imbestigasyon natin, the problem is wala masyadong plaintiffs nagpa-file ng affidavits so sana po tulungan ‘nyo kami na hikayatin ang mga alleged victims for mapalakas natin ang kaso kung meron man,” DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said at the joint press conference with the vice president’s office.

(Although our investigation is ongoing, the problem is that we do not have enough affidavits from the complainants, so we ask for your help in encouraging the alleged victims to file their affidavits so that we have enough evidence for the cases, if applicable.)

Poa said the DepEd is now interviewing seven BNHS teachers, out of the original six, he said on Monday August 29. They have not received a teaching load and are in floating status.

The education spokesperson also said Vice President and Deputy Secretary Sara Duterte had met with the Child Protection Committee to discuss how they could make schools safe spaces for children again. . No other details were disclosed.

In March 2021, Rappler published a series of investigative reports about how two high school teachers from St. Theresa’s College Quezon City befriended their students before making sexual advances, and how the school handled the cases.

Deputy Senate Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros has called for a Senate investigation into “constant reports of sexual harassment” allegedly committed by educators at various schools across the country. The inquest is scheduled for next week, Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros added that under the Safe Spaces Act, which she authored, all schools must publish complaints procedures and must designate a manager who can receive complaints.

Rappler asked the DepEd how many sexual abuse complaints they had received since 2020 when the Schools Child Protection Unit was set up, but they have yet to respond at press time. – Rappler.com

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