By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday strongly condemned the shooting of Zhydee Bitago Cabañelez, an elementary teacher at the Dalit Elementary School in Valencia City, Bukidnon on October 15.
“DepEd calls on the authorities to conduct an exhaustive investigation of the gruesome incident and expects results that will bring the perpetrators to justice,” it said in a statement.
The agency also called on the community, local officials, and law enforcement agencies to work closely in ensuring the safety of schools, learners, and teachers.
Four unidentified armed men attacked Cabañelez and her husband, Ramil, with the pupils still inside her classroom.
The husband managed to escape while the victim sustained serious physical injuries.
Initial police reports forwarded by Valencia City police chief Surki Sereñas showed that the victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds but is now in stable condition at a hospital and will be provided with psychological first aid.
Schools Division Superindent of Valencia City Dr. Victoria Gazo reported that the local DepEd office has already conducted stress debriefing to pupils, parents, and teachers in Dalit Elementary School a day after the incident.
The Division Office also postponed the conduct of the school’s 2nd periodical test supposed to be on Oct. 17 and 18.
“During coordination meeting, the Barangay and Sitio leaders committed to assigning CVO (civilian volunteers organization) and purok leaders to serve as security officers during school hours,” the agency assured.
The teachers would be accompanied in coming to school and going home at least until the Pulangi River, it added.
Likewise, the DepEd Central and local offices have collected financial contributions to augment funds for the hospitalization of the victim.
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones instructed DepEd Regional Office X and the Schools Division Office of Valencia City to submit complete incident reports and to obtain investigation reports from the authorities. (PNA)