sexual abuse in the Philippines

DepEd urges sexual abuse victims to come forward, file complaints

Bonz Magsambol
DepEd urges sexual abuse victims to come forward, file complaints
The Department of Education is now probing seven teachers at the Bacoor National High School in Cavite

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

“Although nagtutuloy ‘yung imbestigasyon natin, ang problem ay wala masyadong complainants nagpa-file ng affidavits so sana po tulungan ‘nyo kami na hikayatin ang mga alleged victims para mapalakas natin ang kaso kung meron man,” DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said during the joint press briefing with the Office of the Vice President.

(Although our investigation is ongoing, the problem is we don’t have enough affidavits from complainants so we’re asking your help in encouraging the alleged victims to file their affidavits so we would have enough evidence for the cases, if any.)

Poa said that the DepEd is now probing seven teachers in BNHS, from the initial six he said on Monday, August 29. They were not given teaching load and are on floating status.

The education spokesman also said that Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte met with the child protection committee to discuss how they could make schools safe spaces for children again. No further details were disclosed.

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

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros has sought a Senate probe into “constant reports of sexual harassment” allegedly committed by educators in various schools in the country. The probe is scheduled next week, Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros added that under the Safe Spaces Act, which she authored, all schools should publish grievance procedures and must assign an officer-in-charge who can receive complaints.

Rappler asked the DepEd how many complaints of sexual abuses they received since 2020, when child protection unit in schools were instituted, but they have yet to reply as of posting. – Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.