Covenant to protect teachers in Zambo village signed

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/03 June) – Various stakeholders signed Sunday a covenant to ensure the protection and prevent another kidnapping of teachers in an island barangay in the city.

Pedro Melchor Natividad, acting city schools division superintendent, said Monday in a phone interview that the Covenant of Shared Responsibility and Accountability was signed by Limaong barangay chair Nasri Asari and representatives from the police and military’s Task Force Zamboanga.

Limaong lies 83 kilometers east of this city.

Natividad said the signatories pledged to ensure the safety of the school teachers in the area.

He said the police would provide security to the teachers while traveling to the school while the soldiers will secure the campus.

He said the barangay will deploy barangay tanods (watchmen) to assist the police and military forces.

He added he also asked the community leaders to immediately report to the authorities the presence of strangers.

On December 18, 2013, a group of gunmen kidnapped Cathy Mae Casipong in Sitio Paraitan, Limaong while she and her fellow teachers were travelling aboard a motorized banca.

Casipong, who taught at the Sibogtok Elementary School in Limaong, was released on March 11 in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Natividad said Casipong was transferred to a school near the city proper while they are still evaluating if a replacement is needed.

“We will base it on the number of enrollees,” he said. (MindaNews)