Less than two weeks before the opening of classes on June 4, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Ano directs the Philippine National Police (PNP) to setup police assistance desks in all public schools nationwide.
“Ensuring peace and order is part of enabling a conducive learning environment. Police officers shall be assigned in schools during school opening and conduct foot patrols,” he says.
The targeted enhanced police presence in schools, he says, is in support to the Oplan Balik Eskwela Inter-Agency Task Force of the Department of Education where the DILG and PNP are among the member agencies.
According to Ano, the PNP should also intensify its crime prevention programs in schools. “Police officers assigned in schools during the school opening should take the opportunity to distribute leaflets and flyers on anti-bullying, anti-illegal drugs, and anti-crime tips to educate them on how to deal with such challenges,” he said.
Meanwhile, DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya underscores that local chief executives have important roles to play for a smooth start of the new academic year.
“OIC-Secretary Ano shall be issuing a memorandum circular to governors, mayors, and punong barangays urging them to support the Oplan Balik Eskwela of DepEd,” he said.
Local government units (LGUs) are encouraged to convene their Peace and Order Councils (POCs), Local Councils for the Protection of Children (LCPCs) and Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (LDRRMCs) to carry out necessary preparations, anticipate requirements and employ corresponding necessary measures during the opening of classes.
“LGUs are also prodded to enact an anti-truancy ordinance to regulate the entry of uniformed students in malls, internet cafes, and other recreation centers, especially during school hours,” says Malaya.
Local governments are further enjoined to ensure that road networks leading to schools are secure, clean and clearly marked with signage.