DepEd ARMM official seeks help against attacks on educators PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 23 June 2013 14:54

The top education official in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is now coordinating with the police as she expressed alarm over the rash of attacks against educators in Maguindanao.

“Very alarming na ito (This is already alarming),” Lawyer Kamar Kulayan, education secretary for ARMM, said on Saturday.

In the most recent incident, Kulayan said unidentified gunmen shot and seriously wounded a teacher in Talayan, Maguindanao on Friday, four days after a school district supervisor was also shot in Gen. SK Pendatun, Maguindanao

Kulayan did not identify the Talayan teacher who was wounded and is now recuperating at a government hospital.

Kulayan has sought the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office to help contain the harassment against teachers and education officials.

“I don’t think it was election related,” Kulayan said in a television interview.

Lilia Pendatun, OIC district supervisor for Gen. SK Pendatun town, was driving her Mitsubishi Pajero on June 17 en route to her office in Barangay Poblacion when gunmen riding tandem on a motorbike overtook her vehicle and opened fire.

She sustained six gunshot wounds in different parts of her body and was rushed to a hospital in nearby Tacurong City. She expired three days later.

Pendatun was the deputy school district supervisor and assumed as officer in charge few days after the district supervisor, Abas Minso, was shot dead a day after the May 13 national and local elections.

Kulayan said Pendatun has no known enemy and has not received death threats before she was ambushed.

“It may not be election related, probably related to her job as OIC district director,” he said.

Kulayan said he was instructed by acting Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman to look into the incident against education officials and coordinate with the police.

He already met with Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, PNP-ARMM regional director and discuss with the police official security arrangements to ensure safety of teachers.

Two teachers were shot dead in Maguindanao before election and another two were separately shot after the balloting.

Kulayan urged the teachers to report to police authorities or to his office if they are receiving harassment or death threats to prevent loss of lives.

While they are not related, two education officials have been shot in Maguindanao and North Cotabato over the past week.

Aside from Pendatun, Dr. Cynthia Alpas, human resources director of the state run University of Southern Philippines, was shot in front of her home in Matalam, North Cotabato last Sunday.

She survived the assassination attempt but now in critical condition at a hospital in Kidapawan City.

Quoting witnesses, Senior Inspector Elias Dandan, Matalam police chief, said the gunman, clad in denim pants and black shirt, casually approached the unsuspecting education official and shot her with .45-caliber pistol at around 7:00 p.m.

The suspect, according to Dandan, was about to finish off Alpas but the shots already attracted the attention of Barangay Police Auxiliary Forces stationed nearby.

Dandan said police investigators are determining if the attempt to kill Alpas was related to the on-going protests actions at USM for the ouster of Dr. Jesus Antonio Derije, USM president.

Alpas is now confined at a private hospital guarded by policemen.

Hours before Alpas was shot, unidentified men tossed two Molotov bombs at a parked Toyota Fortuner vehicle of the USM chief security officer inside the school campus.

A conflagration also took place at the USM warehouse but was quickly put off by responding firemen.