KIDAPAWAN CITY, Dec. 10 (PNA) — All public pre-school, elementary and high schools in the SOCCSKSARGEN region have been declared “zones of peace,” the Department of Education in Region 12 announced Tuesday.
There are 1,707 pre-schools, 1,692 elementary schools, and 402 high schools in Region 12 which is composed of the provinces of South and North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Cotabato, Kidapawan, Koronadal, Tacurong and Gen. Santos, according to Dr. Allan Farnazo, DepEd 12 regional director.
In an order, Farnazo directed all public education institution in the region to display streamers declaring “This school is a zone of peace.” Most of private schools also abide by the directive and displayed streamers.
“We want to bring out the message that peace is still possible amid the divide in our society,” Farnazo told education officials in a recent meeting.
The said the streamers conspicuously displayed for the public to read and support simply reminds everyone that as zone of peace, school children should be spared from all forms of violence.
He said schools should be the safest place for children since in situations like armed conflict and violence they are the most vulnerable.
The J. Marquez elementary school in Cotabato City was among the public schools that was declared zone of peace where teachers and students as well as parents took part in working for the attainment of peace.
Parents were actively involved in the peace advocacy program by starting the campaign for peace at home.
Farnazo said he was saddened by the turn of events in a remote village in Midsayap, North Cotabato where children and teachers were caught in the middle of an armed conflict involving Moro bandits and government forces.
Although nobody was harmed in that incident, the situation have long term effects psychology and emotionally among pupils and teachers.
Farnazo said DepEd is pushing its child protection policy aimed primarily at promoting the welfare of pupils toward total human development.
The education official has appealed to the public whether they have children or not studying in schools near them to help work for the attainment of peace in schools and help sustain it. (PNA)