Teachers, parents protest burning of classroom

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/04 July) – The Philippine flag was hoisted in half-mast at a public school in Makilala town in North Cotabato since Monday after unidentified armed men burned one of its classrooms, a barangay official said.

Barangay Chair Melvin Fortajada of Malasila, Makilala said the flag would be placed in half-mast until Wednesday as sign of protest by the teachers and parents to the incident.

At around 3:45 p.m. Sunday, armed men razed the Grade One classroom of the Balawan Elementary School in Sitio Balawan, Malasila.

Cotabato provincial fire marshal Ibrahim Guiamalon, in a radio interview on Tuesday, estimated the damage at P700 thousand.

Most of the pupils of the school belong to the Manobo tribe.

Fortajada said that when he visited the school on Monday he saw no pupils and teachers.

He said he received reports the incident had created fears among pupils and some of the teachers.

Omar Obas, Cotabato schools division superintendent, clarified that he did not order a suspension of classes at Balawan Elementary School after the incident.

“When you see none inside the school, it was just that the teachers there were attending training somewhere in Kidapawan City. I did not order suspension of classes despite what happened,” Obas said in a text message.

Fortajada said he had sought police assistance to secure the school from being attacked again by the armed group.

No group has claimed responsibility for the incident. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)