More than a hundred concerned alumni of the Philippine Science High School—Ilocos Region Campus (PSHS-IRC) signed an open letter condemning the alleged sexual harassment by a teaching staff against several students done in the past years.
John Paulo Quitoriano, spokesperson of PSHS-IRC’s Batch 2011, and Paul Christian Yang-ed, assistant spokesperson, shared a letter that was signed by 282 alumni in response to the “recent revelations” on social media involving the supposed staff.
“Worse, it was repeatedly committed against hapless minors in the past years by someone who is supposedly in a position of trust and power,” the letter reads.
“We find it utterly reprehensible that the person who is allegedly responsible for such dastardly acts remains scot-free and that he can continue victimizing students for as long as he goes unpunished. Such brazen acts speak volumes on the responsible authorities who allow impunity by concealing sexual predators instead of holding them to account,” it added.
The alumni urged their alma mater and the relevant authorities “to preventively suspend and file criminal proceedings” against the staff and those who helped cover up the alleged incidents.
“The highest echelons of the PSHS System must exact accountability and justice for the victims until the very end. They must extend all forms of assistance, such as financial, legal, and psychological aid, to those who were victimized,” they added.
“The PSHS community must send the message that our campuses are safe zones against rape and sexual harassment and that such acts should not be tolerated regardless of who committed them. Concretely, this means cooperating with a thorough investigation to be conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other law-enforcement agencies,” the letter further said.
According to the alumni, the issues that needed to be tackled are the following:
- Did PSHS-IRC receive any complaints against the person? What did Pisay do after that?
- If indeed there are complaints, why was this person still allowed to continue teaching?
- What were the actions taken by PSHS-IRC after the complaints?
- What protocols must be done so that such incidents would no longer happen again?
The concerned graduates also called on the PSHS System and the officials of PSHS-IRC to speak up about the matter and provide assurance that justice will be delivered swiftly.
Other organizations also expressed their support to the students following the allegations.
“We demand accountability on the PSHS-IRC Administration and the PSHS System,” Samahan ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan ng Timog Katagalugan (SANIB-TK) tweeted. Its post was accompanied with the hashtag “#PisayDoBetter.”
Agham Youth-Pisay MC similarly used the hashtag and demanded the authorities concerned to implement “effective systems to protect sexual assault and harassment victims.”
“Protect your students, not your reputation,” it added.
The PSHS-MC’s Debate Varsity likewise said that it stands with the victims and also called for accountability from the school.
“Your silence is complicit to this behavior. Pisay, do better,” it tweeted.
Batch 2023 of PSHS-IRC also appealed for the school and the PSHSS administration “to carry out active solutions and effective actions towards a more progressive management regarding cases of sexual abuse and harassment.”
“Brought on by our responsibility as seniors, and as our intergenerational responsibility, Batch 2023 aims to stop the cycle of abuse on students, and we urge the administration to hear our voices,” it said in a statement.
PSHS-IRC on Wednesday initiated a virtual meeting with parents and guardians where it released a statement on the alleged sexual harassment incidents.
It is currently not available on its Facebook page and website as of this writing.
PSHS in 2019 also made headlines when some of its students were accused of sharing lewd pictures of their fellow students online.
Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office was among those who were vocal about the issue.