Hontiveros: Prohibit repeat sexual offenders from teaching in schools

Hontiveros: Prohibit repeat sexual offenders from teaching in schools

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said that repeat sexual offenders should be prohibited from teaching in any school in the Philippines.

“Nakakabahala na yung mga tinanggal o nag-resign na guro dahil sa pang-aabuso at harassment sa isang school, ay pwede lang mag-turo ulit sa ibang paaralan. Wala tayong nalutas na problema kung hinahayaan nating palipat-lipat lang ang mga abuser. Sexual predators should never be allowed to be around children,” said Hontiveros, principal author of the Safe Spaces Act.

In a 2021 article, a teacher-predator in St. Theresa’s College Quezon City (STCQC) who had resigned in 2016 was found to have been teaching at Angeles University Foundation (AUF) in the school year 2019-2020. According to the same report, as of February last year, the teacher was employed in yet another school. The victim-survivors in both STCQC and AUF confirmed grooming and sexual advances from the same teacher.

“Ilan pa ang mga guro na may mga kaso na pala ng pang-aabuso at karahasan pero imbes na tunay na managot ay nag-iiba lang ng eskwelahan? Ilang mga estudyante na ang nabiktima dahil dito? Predators should get more than a slap on the wrist,” Hontiveros said.

“Schools should show their students that abusers will be made accountable. This also tells our young people that they will be heard, not dismissed nor silenced. In fact, napagtagumpayan ng STCQC na ayusin ang sistema nila in resolving sexual harassment cases. Nung 2020, nag-file ang isang estudyante ng administrative complaint laban sa isang teacher-predator. The school then created a Student Care Council that processed this case. A month later, the abuser’s employment was terminated. Ganitong proactivity sana ang inaasahan natin sa lahat ng paaralan,” Hontiveros said.

During the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality hearing on the series of reports of sexual harassment in schools, Hontiveros said that there is currently no policy that bars someone, who resigned or who was dismissed due to sexual abuse, from applying in another educational institution.

The senator added that the PH government should look into Australia’s “Working with Children Check,” an additional layer of screening for adults whose work involves being in the regular company of children.

“Kung may ganito rin tayong proseso, tiyak na mapipigilan natin ang mga abuser na paulit-ulit lang na mang-abuso sa iba’t ibang eskwelahan. With the rampant cases of sexual abuse and harassment that we receive and we hear about year after year, it seems necessary to have a similar mechanism in our country,” the senator said.

“Mismong mga estudyante na ang gumagawa ng paraan para protektahan ang mga kapwa nila mag-aaral. Our children have been calling on all of us to do better. Hindi sila maayos na pinakinggan kaya’t kinailangan pang ipa-trend sa social media ang hashtag na #DoBetter. Let’s listen to them this time,” Hontiveros concluded. #  (Contributed photo)