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AFTER THE MURDER OF A TEACHER: Measure up to assign classroom mentors in their own towns

LEGAZPI CITY--- Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda is pushing for the localization of teachers’ classroom assignments following the tragic killing a few days ago of 23-year old teacher Mylene Veras Durante in Pioduran, Albay.

Salceda revealed he is crafting a bill that will localize the assignment of teachers for them to serve in their own locality instead of being posted in other towns, especially those in far-flung areas where they are total strangers.

Teacher Mylene, a 23-year-old mother of two, along with two Grade 6 students, were sleeping inside the principal’s office at the Oringon Elementary School in Barangay Oringon, Pio Duran when a 17-year old suspect entered the room at round 11:00 p.m. on October 9 reportedly with the intention to force himself on the victim.

But teacher Mylene reportedly fought back against the 17-year-old Grade 12 student from another school. During the ensuing scuffle, the suspect stabbed to death the victim, including the two Grade 6 students who were aroused by the commotion. The students, before being further hurt, were able to run away and locked themselves in another classroom.

Teacher Maylene was allowed to sleep over in the principal’s office, along with the two pupils, because they lived in another town far from the school that she was assigned to teach.

“My staff is already drafting the proposed measure,” Salceda said.

Following the tragic killing, teachers in Albay prepared a petition letter urging their respective congressmen to file measures regarding the assignment of teachers in remote communities.

Together with the petition letter sent to Salceda, the teachers were joined by the rest of the concerned citizens of Albay in condemning in strongest terms of the killing of teacher Mylene.

“Teacher Mylene was a hero in every sense, and we recognize her efforts and the efforts of many other teachers who risk their lives to form the hope of our nation. In the same light, we seek permanent solutions to the circumstances that endangered the life of teacher Mylene and continue to endanger the lives of many other teachers,” the petition stated.

And the same petition added: “Teachers in underdeveloped communities remain the strongest exponents of rural and inclusive development, but we assert that rural development should not come at the risk of the lives of our teachers. Fair working conditions for teachers and access to education are both worthy national priorities.

“Appealing to their commitment to both teacher’s welfare and rural development, we urge our Representatives, Joey Salceda, Fernando Gonzalez and Edcel Lagman, to file measures seeking to conduct hearings, in aid of legislation, on the issue of public-school teachers’ assignment and localization; and to urge for meaningful systemic improvements based on the findings of these hearings;

“Consider filing measures that encourage underdeveloped and underserved communities to produce more teachers, so that schools in these communities can be served by locals and create preferential scholarships with stipends for students in these communities who wish to become teachers.”

The teachers also asked the lawmakers in Albay to file measures that will make schools safer and provide benefits for families of teachers like teacher Mylene.

“We commit to supporting these measures once they are filed, and we commit to assisting our representatives in moving these measures forward. We appeal to our representatives to act urgently, in view of the tightening legislative calendar, and we express our gratitude and anticipate their usual consideration and support,” the teachers of Albay stated in their petition.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police in Albay filed three counts of murder against the 17-year-old suspect and is now detained at Pioduran police station. He is set to turn 18 years old on November 14, this year.

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