By Malu Cadelina Manar
Five weeks after the fighting erupted in Marawi, the Department of Education (DepEd) is still keeping track of the whereabouts of at least 140 of their teachers that fled the city, a school official said.
The Marawi City schools division has 1,413 teachers, data showed. At least 90 percent of them have already been accounted for, according to Ana Zenaida Unte, assistant schools division superintendent of Marawi City.
Unte hinted that remaining 10 percent of their teachers might have gone to far-flung towns outside Lanao provinces to flee from the fighting.
Since May 23, these teachers have not reported to them, she said in a radio interview on Monday.
Unte however clarified that none among their teachers were trapped in Marawi City,.
“No teacher is missing, none, so far, based on the reports. But we continue to track them,” she said.
Unte said she has yet to confirm reports that at least 145 of their teachers are in Davao del Sur and in Davao City.
Insofar as she knew, they only have one teacher who sought shelter in Davao City. She identified her as Rosmia Pandapatan, who now teaches in one of the public schools in the city.
“Aside from Ms Pandapatan, wala na akong alam (Aside from Ms Pandapatan, I don’t know anybody else). That is why we have to verify the reports that some of our teachers have gone to Davao del Sur,” she said.
Even if these teachers have not yet been found, they still receive their regular pay through their automated teller machine (ATM) cards, according to Unte.
She, however, suggested to DepEd at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that the teachers’ salaries should be paid in checks.
“Mayroon kaming suggestion, sa mga school level, sa mga school division office, na ang mga sahod ay gawing tseke so that we can confirm warm bodies ( We have a suggestion to the school level and to the school divisions to pay the salaries in check so that we can confirm warm bodies) ,” Unte said.
Should DepEd agree to this, Unte said the teachers get their checks at their temporary coordinating spaces in Iligan City, which is located inside the Iligan City Central Elementary School, and in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur.
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