LEGAZPI CITY, 23 August 2018—EDUCO Philippines condemns the burning of students’ bags at Bicol Central Academy (BCA), a private school in Libmanan, Camarines Sur. The incident was reported to be ordered by Alexander James Jaucian after students failed to comply with “no-bag” policy for the school’s event.

A disturbing video of the BCA owner and administrator James Jaucian ordering and overseeing the burning of student’s bags went viral last Friday, August 17. According to reports, Jaucian was motivated to such a dangerous and damaging action simply because the students were not wearing the proper attire for a school event. The day after the incident, the video had caught the attention of the Department of Education.

EDUCO lauds the Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad and the DepEd Bicol for their quick action resulting to a 90-day suspension of the said school owner just days after the video was published.  The Department’s child protection policy, as stated in DepEd Order No. 40 of 2012, upholds zero-tolerance for any act of abuse, exploitation, violence, discrimination, bullying, and other forms of abuse.

“EDUCO joins other organizations, local governments, individuals and concerned citizens in condoning the act, and calls for a transparent investigation over the incident,” Program Manager Eleanor Peña speaking in behalf of the organization.

EDUCO further urges the agencies concerned and capable, local governments and civil society organizations in the community to reach out to the students and their families to offer support in dealing with traumatic experience and replenishing the school supplies destroyed.

We call on all schools, both private and public academic institutions—and especially BCA—to uphold DepEd’s child protection policy, strengthen referral mechanisms, invest in trainings, and engage students and parents on child protection.

According to Peña, “We urge students, schools, and communities to report any forms of abuse in the future, regardless of whether they were caught on video or not. At EDUCO we work with the duty bearers, both in schools and communities in promoting the rights and interests of children in a way that it creates an enabling environment that respects their dignity, enjoy their rights and responsibilities, and live in a society free from violence.”

At present, EDUCO has trained hundreds of teachers on positive discipline in everyday teaching. It provides teachers the tools to view pupils in a larger context and equips them with techniques on discipline that does not harm the child in any way.

EDUCO Philippines views all acts of corporal punishment as child abuse and all responsible as will be found out upon the conclusion of DepEd’s investigation be held accountable and receive proper intervention. “Such action no matter what the motivation, compromises the rights and wellbeing of children,” adds Peña.