Region 12 absorbs students displaced by Marawi siege

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 June) — At least 169 learners or students who were displaced by the continuing conflict in Marawi City have been accommodated by public schools in parts of Region 12.

Dr. Arturo Bayocot, Department of Education (DepEd)-Region 12 director, said Tuesday such figure was based on the enrollment data received by the regional office for transferees from Marawi City.

He said the Cotabato City schools division reported the most number of transferees from Marawi with 50, followed by Sultan Kudarat division with 35.

The remaining number is pro-rated to other areas, among them in Koronadal City and this city, he said.

As reported by schools that accommodated the transferees, some of them processed their enrollment last week and during the opening of classes on Monday.

DepEd-12 earlier said all public elementary and high schools in the region were mandated to accept all transferees from Marawi City, including those who were not able to present any school-related document or record.

“Our schools will accept these displaced children until June 30,” Bayocot said in a radio interview.

For the other late enrolees, the official said they will also accept them until the end of the month, provided they have valid reasons.

He urged parents or guardians of learners who were not yet enrolled to process them within the week.

“They will miss a lot from their classes and lag behind in terms of their lessons if they will wait longer to enroll,” he said.

For the school opening on Monday, Bayocot said a total of 1,096,320 learners have enrolled and showed up for their classes.

Region 12, which has nine school divisions, has a total of 1,746 elementary and 499 secondary schools, including those offering senior high school programs.

The region comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Bayocot described the formal opening of classes in the entire region as “peaceful, orderly and successful.”

But he said they also received reports on some minor problems common to schools, especially those with huge population or enrollment.

These include some learners having difficulty in finding their classrooms and the lack of available classrooms in some schools, he said.

“But these were addressed through the help desks set up by our schools,” he added.

Supt. Romeo Galgo Jr., public information officer of the Police Regional Office-12, said the opening of classes in the region was generally peaceful and orderly based on their monitoring.

“There were no major untoward incidents monitored and forwarded to regional operations center in connection with the opening of classes,” he said.

He said they have assigned personnel to secure local schools, especially the learners, and facilitate the flow of vehicle traffic in some school zones.

On Monday, several schools in Maasim and Kiamba towns suspended their classes due to a reported clash between government troops and an unidentified armed group.

The brief encounter ensued after armed men ambushed a vehicle of the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Nama, Barangay Lomuyon in Kiamba, leaving a trooper wounded.

But the Kiamba municipal police station said the security situation in the area is already under control. (MindaNews)