Makabayan bloc urges gov't to endorse Safe Schools Declaration
MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc have filed a resolution urging the Duterte administration to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration.
House Resolution No. 223 was filed on August 12 and signed by Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas, and Bayan Muna representatives Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat.
The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment open for endorsement that allows countries to support the protection of schools from attack during times of armed conflict; the importance of continuing education in times of war; and the implementation of concrete measures to deter the military use of schools.
"We must intensify the campaign for schools as zones of peace wherein fundamental freedoms of organization, peaceful assembly, and expression are upheld," the House resolution said.
The resolution also mentioned that Education Secretary Leonor Briones stated her department's "strong support" for the declaration in April 2019.
The House resolution was brought up by Brigadier General Antonio Parlade during the Senate hearing on the alleged recruitment of minors by leftist groups on Wednesday, August 14.
"This is another attempt to prevent the state forces, the police, from intervening in their effort to expand their infiltration in the school," Parlade said, referring to the presence of left-leaning groups in universities.
Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, who presided the hearing, responded, "Feeling nila safe ang school kapag ang mga komunista lang ang nasa loob ng school? Unsafe ang school kapag nandoon ang military at ang police?"
(So they feel safe when only communists are inside the school? And they feel unsafe when military and police are there?)
Dela Rosa earlier proposed for increased police patrols in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) campus, following testimonies of parents whose children left their families to join militant groups. Some of these children were students of PUP. – Rappler.com