By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) reminded all regions to ensure the safety and welfare of student-athletes who will participate in this year’s Palarong Pambansa by adhering to the provisions of the department’s Child Protection Policy (CPP).
In the 2019 Palarong Pambansa General Information, Technical Rules, Regulations, and Guidelines of Sports (as contained in DepEd Memo. No. 45 s. of 2019), DepEd OIC-Undersecretary and 2019 Palarong Pambansa Secretary-General Revsee Escobedo said all regions “shall adhere to the provisions” of DepEd Order No. 40 s. of 2012 or the DepEd’s CPP.
“All regional delegation officials shall be accountable for the protection, welfare, and the safety of their pupil/student-athletes,” Escobedo said. In addition, he noted that “each of the DepEd regional offices shall provide medical insurance coverage for its respective delegation.”
In last year’s Palaro, personnel of DepEd from Cebu City – who was accused by a student-athlete of making sexual advances toward him – was arrested. The education employee, DepEd said, was a “spectator” at the 2018 Palarong Pambansa and was “not part of any regional delegation.”
In a statement issued earlier, Education Secretary Leonor Briones stressed that “sexual predators and violators of children’s rights have no place” in the DepEd – much less in schools, learning environments, and events where children are supposed to feel safe and nurtured. “Behaviors that endanger the physical and mental well-being of our learners are not tolerated in the Department,” she said.
Briones said DepEd will continue to exercise everything in its power to ensure that the “appalling action of the erring personnel and similar violators shall be meted with justice.” Thus, she reminded teachers, school administrators, and non-teaching personnel that they “are the foremost protectors of learners from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, violence, and discrimination” and “are expected to perform functions and conduct themselves, in and outside the classroom, with this responsibility in mind.”
Pursuant to its commitment in implementing the DepEd Child Protection Policy and Republic Act No. 7620 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act), DepEd enjoined parents, teachers, and communities in “ensuring that all learners are always protected and their best interest are constantly upheld.”
With the theme “Shaping the Future Through Sports,” the 2019 Palarong Pambansa is set from April 27 to May 4. Davao City will host this year’s sporting event, in cooperation with DepEd Region XI and the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Davao City.