Sunday, November 15, 2009

Safety of Sulu teachers, civilians assured

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / November 15, 2009) - Sulu Governor Sakur Tan assured security for state teachers in the province and said that authorities have taken necessary steps to protect them and civilians against threats of kidnappings and terrorism.

Tan ordered the police and military to provide ample security to teachers, especially those who are assigned in areas where lawless groups known to operate. He also told mayors of different municipalities to take an active role in keeping their areas safe to civilians.

This after Abu Sayyaf militants killed a kidnapped principal, Gabriel Canizares. His poor family failed to pay two million pesos ransom.

Teachers, led by Schools Division Superintendent Eufremio Lacanaria, have sought the intervention Tan after Canizares was killed. Teachers have suspended classes in some parts of Sulu to show their sympathy to Canizares’ family.

Tan, who condemned the murder, appealed to teachers to return to their classes.

“I understand and we have always shown concern to the plight of the teachers, this incident is very unfortunate, but we must not sacrifice the interests of our students”, he said. “Authorities have come up with strategies to secure the safety of our teachers and civilians.”

Sulu police chief, Superintendent Antonio Mendoza, said they have deployed marshals to protect teachers from lawless groups. He also ordered additional police forces to patrol near schools and vital government installations.

Just recently, some 2,000 civilians have joined the so-called Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team-Police Auxiliary Unit under the supervision of the Philippine National Police to help authorities maintain peace and order and protect civilians against the Abu Sayyaf.

Tan said he requested additional judges and prosecutors from the Department of Justice to handle criminal cases in Sulu. He also sought additional members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation for Sulu to help the provincial government in prosecuting heinous crimes.

Tan put up a human rights desk in the Sulu provincial capitol to ensure civilians are protected. “We have put up many measures to ensure human rights are not violated while our law enforcement agencies pursue legal actions against those who disturb our peace and order in Sulu,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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