22 February 2012

Justice For Ma'am Loida, Justice for Teachers

Justice for Loida Pagatpat
It is not fun in the Philippines when grade school students see their teacher gunned down in front of them inside the classroom. This is what actually happened when 59-year old public school teacher Loida Pagatpat was brutally shot in front of her grade school class in Palanas, Masbate last 3 February 2012.

Worse, investigators still does not have any lead on the identification of the killer despite the PhP 100,000.00 reward offered by the victim's family. According to Pagatpat's relatives and friends, there is lack of progress in the investigation of the case.

The family also added that the investigators are taking their time even if another teacher was stabbed dead also inside a classroom earlier this year in the same province.

"Namatay ang mama ko nang walang kalaban-laban at ayaw na naming na maulit pa ito. Marami nang pinatay sa probinsiya ng Masbate na hindi naresolba ang kaso. Ganito kabulok ang sistema ng hustisya sa probinsiyang ito," son Norman Pagatpat said to the media.

The family is calling on the police and DepEd authorities to assist them in seeking justice for their dear mother, who according to them was good and loyal teacher and a very loving mother.

A group called the Teachers' Dignity Coalition is likewise urging the government to provide better protection for educators particularly in areas with a history of armed conflict and violent crime like Masbate.

Public school teachers in the country were not given enough importance for several decades despite the long hours of work and the modest pay that they received in carrying out their noble duties. They have been at the forefront of promoting countryside development but most of them received only a monthly pay of PhP 15,649 (US$ 348), an amount that is obviously barely enough.

If the country cannot uplift the standard of living of teachers everywhere, it should at least try its best to give them the protection that they need and the justice that they deserve. The killer of Loida Pagatpat must be caught and made to account for their crime.