Fears mount as PNP poises as ‘guest lecturers’ for DepEd’s blended learning

August 17, 2020 - 8:08 PM
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PNP officers
Undated file photo of members of the Philippine National Police in march. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

The Philippine National Police over the weekend said that some of its officers are ready to act as “guest lecturers” for the Department of Education‘s  blended learning approach this coming school year as part of its “Pulis Ko, Titser Ko” initiative.

Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, spokesperson of the PNP, reportedly said that the personnel of the institution’s community affairs office are poised to aid the Department of Education in terms of blended learning in remote areas, which includes online classes.

DZBB Super Radyo reported on August 15 that the police force is ready to share information in fields concerning peace and order, good manners and right conduct or GMRC and campaign against illegal drugs.

Banac added that PNP will also help in the distribution of DepEd’s modules, especially in remote areas, under the initiative.

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa in a virtual press briefing on July 20 explained that it has been the police’s practice to provide security to places of convergence, transportation hubs and learning institutions to protect students, teachers and parents from criminal elements.

“We will undertake the necessary activities and operations, including implementation of security plan, attending coordination meetings with DepEd offices, LGUs, PTA, volunteer groups, and stakeholders to carry out public safety services, conduct assessment on the security and safety operations for DepEd personnel who will deliver printed and digital modules to hard-to-reach areas,” he said before.

‘How to get away with murder?’ 

Meanwhile, the idea that the PNP will serve as “guest lecturers” for DepEd did not amuse some Filipinos who shared their concerns.

The UP College of Education chapter of the Rise for Education Alliance denounced the report and called it a “threat to academic freedom.”

“Schools do not need an institution which is at the helm of breaking laws – may it be with the state-sponsored killings orchestrated by Bato dela Rosa or the mere violation of quarantine restrictions of Debold Sinas,” the group said.

“Schools do not need an institution whose integrity is tainted with blood from the hundreds of children killed in the current administration’s drug war. Schools do not need an institution whose individuals treat these children’s lost lives as collateral damage and ‘shit happens.’ We remember Kian delos Santos who was mercilessly butchered by state forces three years ago,” it added.

SCHOOLS DO NOT NEED PEDDLERS OF LIES AND THREAT TO ACADEMIC FREEDOM! PNP, BACK OFF!According to a DZBB news report,…

Posted by Rise for Education Alliance – UP College of Education on Sunday, August 16, 2020

 

The group called on the DepEd to “hire more teachers” and “institutionalize partnerships with local government units” instead.

Rise for Education is a multi-sectoral alliance of student councils and publications from schools, youth organizations, academe members, parents, out-of-school youth and concerned citizens that’s an advocate of free quality education.

Other Filipinos quipped that the national police might only resort to teaching “how to kill without due process” or “how to get away from murder,” referencing extra-judicial killings that happened under its watch in the context of the administration’s “War on Drugs” campaign.

“Class, our lecture for today is killing innocent civilians,'” Jose Monfred Sy, a teacher at the Save Our Schools Network, tweeted with quotation marks.

There were others who claimed that the PNP might only “red-tag” students in the initiative.

“Prolly (probably) gonna red-tag UP students just like they did to an NSTP lecture back then,” wrote a Twitter user.

“We had an event last year and the topic was supposedly about drugs, yada yada, pero they ended up red-tagging individuals and organizations lol,” claimed another online user.

A Filipino said that teachers only need “more support and compensation” in response to PNP’s initiative.

“The gov’t should be informed of this before they give the murderous police another job they aren’t qualified for,” he wrote.

Last month, Reuters reported that some Filipinos feel scared of the national police’s involvement in the campaign against the coronavirus due to its reputation on conducting “Oplan Tokhang” operations.

This came after the government said that officials will visit homes of patients with mild or no symptoms and escort them to isolation centers.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque later on clarified that the PNP will only “provide support or assistance” while local health workers will do the job.

“The United Nations has said at least 8,663 people, and possibly many more, were killed in the Philippines after Duterte launched a war on drugs in 2016. It said the killings took place amid ‘near impunity’ for police and incitement to violence by top officials,” Reuters reported.

“Most of the deaths were in poor, run-down areas like those in Navotas,” it added.

Last June, some Filipinos recalled instances of local police brutality when the global community condemned the murder of African-American George Floyd under a police officer’s watch.

The murders of Kian Delos Santos and Winston Ragos—cases which included the police’s involvement—were recalled by teen singer-writer Frankie Pangilinan and physician Gideon Lasco on Twitter.

Karapatan member Philip Jamilla also shared a video of the Manila police violently dispersing indigenous groups protesting in front of the United States Embassy in 2016.

The Commission of Human Rights last April stressed the need for on-the-ground law enforces to have “clear-cut guidelines” on implementing quarantine measures for a “humanitarian approach that ensures peace while protecting public health.”