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PNP apologizes for bringing long firearms to elementary school

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
PNP apologizes for bringing long firearms to elementary school
Photo shows students at the Mary Perpetua E. Brioso National High School in Tigbao, Milagros Masbate finally returning to their classroom after the pandemic disrupted physical learning in the Philippines in 2020.
Release / Department of Education

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police's office in the Ilocos-Pangasinan Region apologized to the Department of Education for what it described as the "apparent overreaction" by members of a Municipal Police Station in a public elementary school in Pangasinan for the first day of the pilot testing of face-to-face classes.

This comes after a Department of Education field report observed the "presence of uniformed personnel equipped with their issued firearm inside one of the pilot schools of limited face-to-face classes."

The cops in question were part of the security detail of a local government official who visited the school, the DepEd said. 

The same report prompted the department to issue a statement on the viral photos later Monday, reminding school heads that "schools, as a general rule, should be free from the presence of armed combatants, whether they be from government forces or armed groups."

"Armed force protection units from government forces, if needed, shall be situated proximate to the school and not inside the school," the DepEd also said. 

In a statement sent to reporters, Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos, PNP chief, said that a probe is underway to determine possible lapses in the said security deployment.

FROM INTERAKSYON: DepEd discourages presence of armed cops in schools

PNP claims cops were requested, not part of LGU security detail

In a report sent to Carlos' office, Police Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta, PNP Regional Director of Police Regional Office-1 said police personnel were deployed to the Longos Central Elementary School in Barangay Pangabisan, Alaminos City on Monday "upon the request of school officials [to] ensure observance of minimum public health standards."

According to the regional director, Police Maj. Reinwexk Alamay, officer-in-charge of Alaminos City Police Station, "promptly acted on the request" by sending a team composed of personnel from Alaminos Police Station.

This same team also came with "augmentation" from the 1st Pangasinan Provincial Mobile Force Company and Explosive Ordinance Division-K9 to provide police assistance and security.

“The police units only had pure good intention in acting on the request of school officials," Peralta is quoted as saying in his report, though he was careful to point out that it was "just unfortunate that some persons may have felt intimidated by the presence of security personnel."

"The organization shall always act according to its mandate of promoting nation-building among stakeholders,” the PRO-1 director also said. 

The PNP chief added that a memorandum was already issued to all Chiefs of Police and Mobile Force commanders wihtin Region 1 to remind them of the guidelines and protocol under DepEd’s National Framework on Learners and Schools,” Peralta added.

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