MANILA — The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) personally apologized Wednesday over a tarpaulin that was put up by its unit in Sorsogon City, which identified teachers as potential rapists.
"While I fully understand that the intention of the information drive is noble, it is clearly discriminatory and insulting to our teachers who have been working hard especially in this time of pandemic," PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said in a statement.
"Sa aking panig, ako po ay personal na humihingi ng paumanhin sa ating mga guro at makakaasa kayo na itatama namin ang pagkakamaling ito," he said.
Based on a photo of the tarpaulin published Tuesday on Facebook by the Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC), the Sorsogon City Police Station and Sorsogon City Advisory Council identified "strangers, fathers, uncles, siblings, cousins, friends, trusted people and teachers" as people who could possibly commit rape.
The TDC condemned the tarpaulin, adding that it was hurtful for teachers, whose main objectives are to teach and care for children.
In his statement, Eleazar said the tarpaulins were put up last March but have already been removed.
The Sorsogon City Police Station also apologized over the matter but its officials will still be asked to explain the incident, Eleazar said.
"Sa dami ba naman ng mga propesyon o linya ng hanapbubay ay bakit singled-out ang teacher bilang potential rapist? Ano naman din kaya ang mararamdaman ng mga kapatid nating pulis kung sila halimbawa ay tinukoy sa isang module ng DepEd bilang example ng masasamang tao?" TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said.
(Of the many professions, why are teachers being singled out as potential rapists? How would policemen feel if they were, for example, described in a DepEd module as bad people?)
While the TDC supports the police's campaign against harassment against women and children, it should not put any profession into bad light, the group added.
"Inatasan ko na ang mga pulis na magpaliwanag kung bakit hindi sila dapat parusahan sa pagkakamaling ito," Eleazar said.
(I've asked our policemen to explain why they should not be punished for this mistake.)
The police chief said he hoped the incident would not affect the relationship between cops and teachers, who have worked together on peace and order advocacies.
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