THE Department of Education has been painted black lately by militant groups protesting and condemning the attacks on schools in Mindanao.
These groups have been throwing brickbats at the education department for its perceived inaction on the issue. They accuse Education Secretary Armin Luistro of not lifting a finger to stop these attacks on community schools.
Such attacks are indeed condemnable. That dozens of schools have either been harassed, attacked or “militarized” is disturbing and such acts should not be abetted. The anger shown by groups of education advocates and other sectors is justified. Communities, nay, the nation should rise as one to condemn acts of violence on schools. When schools are attacked, students suffer the most.
But the responsibility of shielding students and schools from acts of war, violence or intimidation does not solely rest on the shoulders of the Education secretary. Several government agencies, including the police and military, should act in concert to ensure that schools remain are safe so that students can continue with their studies unhampered.
The Education department has time and again stressed that it does not allow the militarization of schools. The department has also issued guidelines on the protection of children during armed conflict. And Secretary Luistro has emphasized that armed persons are not allowed to enter school grounds.
So the next time education advocates hold protest rallies condemning the attacks on schools, they should also bring the issue to other concerned agencies. This way, it will not only be the Education department that will be prodded to take action but other government agencies as well.
Milagros P. Almazan
head Teacher II.
Casitan Elementary School, Cagayan