By KC Santos
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Amid calls for justice for the separate killings of a school administrator and a student from two state universities, Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino is urging schools to review security and safety measures to “ensure that crimes within the school campus and its vicinity will be prevented.”
“There is also pressing need for schools all over the country to review and fortify their security and safety measures to ensure that crimes within the school campus and its vicinity will be prevented,” Palatino said.
Palatino clarified that while the two incidents should prompt schools to secure their campuses, they should do so within “democratic bounds” and not resort to repressive measures like militarization and excessive police presence.
Attorney Augustus Cezar, vice president for administration of the Polytechnic University of Philippines (PUP), was shot dead in his van by two suspected assassins along Pureza Street near Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard in Sta. Mesa on Wednesday.
In a separate incident, Given Grace Cebanico, a BS computer science student of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB), was found dead near campus last Tuesday with her cellular phone, wallet, and laptop missing.
Palatino urges schools to ensure that a sufficient number of security personnel are stationed at entry-exit points while others are doing constant, alert rounds within campus and its vicinity especially at night and early morning.
He added that schools should also ensure that basic infrastructure and facilities are in place, such as streetlights, secure and defined pathways and round-the-clock grievance/crisis desk.
The lawmaker said that schools should take time to enjoin all members of the academic community in conducting safety and security awareness activities at least once every semester.
“School safety and security today should not only be about locking the gates and closing the windows; it should mean the collective and rational efforts shared by all members of the community to protect each other from harm,” Palatino said.
Palatino said that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) should also help in promoting safety and security measures among all schools.
He also urges the government to increase funding for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) given the latter’s lack of resources to build and improve infrastructures for security and safety.
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