The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) appeals to President Benigno Aquino III to intervene on the hostage crisis in Agusan Del Sur which is now on its fifth day. The kidnappers however freed at least three hostages– two school officials and one of the two schoolchildren.
“While we are satisfied with the way Prosperidad Mayor Alvin Magdamit and the crisis management committee handle the hostage drama, we ask P-Noy not to treat this as a local matter. Malacanang must step into it and use all means to free the remaining hostages.” Said Benjo Basas, the group’s chairperson.
The TDC is closely monitoring the crisis through its members in the vicinity. The group, however, believes that a peaceful resolution will end the crisis as indicated by the initial releases. Thus, they appeal for the Palace’s intervention to end this 5-day stand-off with the kidnappers by using all means, including a compromise.
“Entering into a compromise with the hostage-takers is much better than compromising the lives and safety of the hostages. We all saw what an armed man can do, and what a president could have been done in this kind of situation in the past.” Basas explained.
The TDC further reminded the government to ensure the security of teachers and schoolchildren by providing law enforcement visibility in the vicinity of schools especially those in areas where armed conflict exists.
“That would be the lasting solution. While the teachers are gripped with fear, nobody would dare to be assigned in these places and it compromises the education service for the poor children of these communities.” Basas furthered.
Basas underscored the minimal compensation of public school teachers yet they are exposed into this kind of danger. He stressed “it is but just for us to demand a hazard pay for our colleagues in conflict areas.”
The group continues its 6’o clock prayers which started last Sunday for safe and immediate release of all the hostages.
“We hope that this hostage crisis be the last especially in Agusan where the same incident also took place more than a year ago.” Basas ended.