THE Department of Education (DepEd) said on Thursday, March 23, 2023, that the activities of communist rebels in the province of Masbate are at an “alarming rate,” which is causing undue learning disruptions for students in the area.

The DepEd condemns the insurgency in the province perpetrated by the members of the New People’s Army (NPA), which has caused trauma to learners and school personnel who witnessed the “senseless violence.

“DepEd remains defiant against these fear-mongering tactics of terrorists as the agency commits to deliver basic education to all, even in disadvantaged areas,” it said in a statement.

With this, DepEd Secretary Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio ordered DepEd Regional Office V and School Division Office of Masbate to ensure that learning continuity shall take place.

“As such, there will be no blanket suspension of classes. The suspension of in-person classes and immediate shift to blended learning shall be left to the discretion of the school heads/principals, upon due assessment and proper coordination with the concerned LGU — keeping in mind the peace and order situation, as well as the mental health of learners and school personnel,” said Duterte.

Duterte ensured that she is in constant communication with the Philippine Army deployed in the area to ensure the protection of the schools, learners and school staff in the province.

She said she will visit the insurgency-affected areas in the province once it is determined by authorities that her presence will not disrupt ongoing operations.

The DepEd issued the statement following an encounter between NPA rebels and soldiers near a school in Barangay Cawayan on March 20, which resulted in injuries to two state personnel.

The troops visited the area following reports about the presence of armed communist members in the area. (SunStar Philippines)