DepEd hotline gets 'less than 20' reports of abuse in schools in first week

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2022 12:17 PM

MANILA — The Department of Education said Thursday it received less than 20 reports of abuse in schools, a week since it launched a hotline dedicated for such complaints.

In a press conference, DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said he is coordinating with other agency officials to launch investigations into the reports.

"This is being handled with utmost confidentiality. The Office of the [Education] Secretary is reaching out na po to the callers and to those who filed complaints," he said.

Poa said the reports were not limited to sexual abuse.

"Mayroon din pong mga verbal abuse. Mayroon din po physical abuse. Rest assured, we are on top of it po. And we are directly communicating with the complainants," he said.

(There were also complaints of verbal and physical abuse.)

The education department launched new email and hotlines last week following accusations that at least seven teachers in Bacoor, Cavite were sexually harassing their students.

The DepEd has filed administrative charges against five of the teachers.

During Thursday's press briefing, Poa said administrative proceedings against the accused Cavite teachers were already ongoing.

The agency still cannot charge the remaining two due to insufficient evidence, he added.

Similarly, there is a lack of complainants and evidence in the alleged sexual abuse cases at the Philippine High School for the Arts in Laguna, Poa said.

"From my last conversation with the [National Bureau of Investigation], iyon din po iyong nagiging problema, wala po daw kasi nagfa-file ng formal complaint [or] affidavit," he said.

(From my last conversation with the National Bureau of Investigation, it's the same problem. Nobody is filing a formal complaint or affidavit.)

The recent allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in several Philippine schools prompted an investigation by Senate lawmakers.

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