LEGAZPI CITY, Albay (PIA) – After series of attacks on security forces by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Masbate province, the Commission on Human Rights in Bicol region (CHR-5) released a statement condemning the act.
The attacks started on March 20 in the municipality of Cawayan and occured in the towns of Dimasalang and Placer in the ensuing days. The clashes, which erupted near schools, left one soldier dead, two police officers wounded and many students and teachers traumatized.
The violence led to the suspension of in-person classes, affecting thousands of learners, and shattered the villagers' sense of peace.
In the statement, the CHR-5 called for the attention of the agencies concerned, such as the Philippine National Police, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Education to work together to ensured that the affected communities would receive immediate aid.
“It is equally crucial that concerned agencies work together to ensure that the affected community, especially students, be given immediate assistance and provided psycho-social evaluation to help from the trauma experienced,” CHR-5 said.
The advisory from CHR-5 also stated that an initial meeting was already conducted with representatives from agencies concerned and further meetings would be held to discuss and coordinate inter-agency responses.
“We appreciate the early response of the concerned local chief executives in suspending classes until the situation normalizes. DSWD on the other hand has immediately assessed the situation and provided necessary assistance. Initial investigation was already conducted by CHR5.” it added. (PIA/Marian Geraldine Bayta, Bicol University intern, contributed to this report)