DepEd, police team up vs bomb threats in Metro schools
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has coordinated with the police to better prepare and equip schools in Metro Manila in case of a bomb threat, as well as to combat the spread of illegal drugs.
DepEd Assistant Secretary Jesus Lorenzo Mateo and DepEd-National Capital Region (NCR) Director Ponciano Andal Menguito met with Police Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde of the NCR Police Office (NCRPO) and other officials on Friday, September 9, to discuss the issues of bomb threats and illegal drugs "circulating particularly in different schools in Metro Manila."
This came after the DepEd-NCR appealed to police and barangay officials to also make the rounds in schools, said the NCRPO in a statement on Saturday, September 10. (READ: Bomb threats in schools: 'Are kids your enemies?')
NH: NCRPO Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde meets DepEd with officials,in line with the bomb threats in schools. pic.twitter.com/XzN2xZvHvN— DepEd (@DepEd_PH) September 9, 2016
All officials agreed that a protocol "must be set up on how to report fast and easy any of the issues from school authorities to the police," said the statement.
Mateo emphasized the role of parents and guardians in helping control the dissemination of unverified information.
"Teachers must report first to the authorities before sending out information to parents," he said. "Parents should stay calm when told of any situation so we can all address the threat fast in the correct and appropriate manner."
"Everybody is encouraged to report immediately the information, [like] suspicious things such as unattended bags, boxes, or new things to the police, and not open it," Mateo added.
He also said that schools "must involve police officers and LGUs [local government units] to initiate anti-drug lectures for children." The police "must also be invited during parent-teacher meetings [to] introduce the concept of 911 voice call and text [line] 2286."
Meanwhile, Menguito reminded students not to forward bomb jokes, as these would have consequences under the law. Presidential Decree 1727 metes out a 6-year jail term to persons found guilty of spreading bomb jokes.
For his part, the NCRPO chief emphasized the importance of staying calm and vigilant. "Let us not allow these lawless elements to establish fear on us. Use available resources. Allow us to support our schools as we see fit," he said.
He also discouraged passing unverified and unconfirmed reports. "Huwag po natin ikalat ang maling impormasyon. Magtulungan para sa kaligtasan ng mga anak natin," said Albayalde. (Let us not spread false information. Let's help each other for the safety of our children.)
Albayalde also vowed to intensify the visibility of police and barangay tanods through coordination and collaboration with local government units.
After their meeting, the NCRPO Special Reaction Unit, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, and K-9 units held a simulation exercise at the Oranbo Elementary School in Pasig City to promote awareness on managing bomb threats. – Rappler.com