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DepEd, NBI To Investigate Alleged Sexual Abuse In Phil's Premiere Secondary Art School In Makiling
  • The Department of Education (DepEd) asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate alleged emotional, verbal, and sexual abuses at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) through a statement released on July 12, 2022.

    The move comes after Vice News World came out with a report detailing the alleged abuses former students have experienced from teachers, administrators, and schoolmates from higher levels.  

    In the statement, Vice President and DepEd Secretary Sara Z. Duterte requested the investigation body to provide a ‘comprehensive report’ on the issue as soon as possible. Apart from the NBI, the department has also tapped its Child Protection Unit (CPU) and Child Rights in Education Desk (CREDe) to conduct a similar investigation in relation with the agency’s Child Protection Policy. 

    DepEd Philippines released this statement on July 12, 2022.


    According to the same statement, PHSA is examining the current and prior information on the matter. “Concerns and complaints concerning such abuses in the PHSA are encouraged to be submitted to the school’s Committee on Decorum and Investigation for proper and further actions,” the statement read.


    The statement also added that both DepEd and PHSA Administration are currently reviewing the school’s existing policies and strengthening its internal mechanisms to ensure the safety of the students inside the premises of the institution. 

    RELATED: 'I Was Sexually Abused Noong Bata Pa Ako, Natatakot Ako Ngayon Para Sa Anak Ko'

    “The Department would like to reiterate that the agency does not tolerate abuses in any form. Under the strong leadership of Sara Duterte, Dep Ed will continuously promote a healthy and safe environment for our learners and teachers,” the statement concluded. 

    The PHSA, which is attached to DepEd, is a government-run public high school for artistically talented children located in Mt. Makiling, Laguna. Applicants who pass the examination and auditions at the premier art school are given full scholarships as well as free board and lodging on campus for the duration of their schooling. 

    Decade-long abuses

    In the Vice News World report, titled ‘An Isolated Boarding School, A Culture of Sexual Abuse Thrived for Decades,’ more than a dozen former and current students relayed the abuses and harassment they have experienced on campus.

    Some said that the abuses happened to them when they were as young as 12 and would continue until they graduated from the school. They described “a disturbing environment and culture that enabled abuse” where “teachers often hung out and slept in students’ dormitories…with hardly any supervision or accountability from the school administrators.” 

    The students also said that there was a strong system of seniority and hierarchy “in which older students lorded over younger ones, and teachers often treated students harshly” under the pretext of preparation for the cutthroat arts industry.According to the article, it was the sudden death of a teacher with a then-unknown history of abuse, that triggered ‘his’ victims to talk about their experiences on social media and now they are demanding accountability from the school. 

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    Students, alumni demand accountability

    In a letter to PHSA administrators, students demanded that the school leadership investigate alleged abuses and ensure “safe spaces” when they resume physical classes in August. 

    “We demand that the PHSA administration be particular regarding the moves [they have initiated to] further enhance the safety and well-being of the students and artists within their premises as was stated in the most recently released announcement,” their letter read. 


    This letter was released on July 6, 2022.


    The announcement their letter was referring to was a July 5 statement addressed to the PSHA community by the Management in which the latter assured that it has disciplinary processes in place that is duly recognized by the Civil Services Commission, Commission on human Rights, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the Department of Education.  


    “Please be assured that all our School personnel are working hand in hand towards providing our students a safe learning environment, whether online of Makiling,” the PSHA Management statement added.  


    Where to report child sexual abuse:

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