MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has clarified the 700 teachers in Marawi are not missing as earlier reported but rather, they’re ‘unaccounted for’.
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones said she was merely ‘misquoted’ when she told the media the teachers were ‘missing’ and urged reporters not to use the word as it implied they were either killed or abducted by the terrorists.
“Just like the learners and other citizens of Marawi, teachers also fled and sought refuge in other safe locations away from the ongoing armed conflict in their area. But that does not mean that they are missing or taken as hostages,” Inquirer quoted Briones as saying.
Briones said the teachers were ‘absent’ when they were called to report, but not necessarily missing.
Even DepEd Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Assistant Secretary Marjuni Maddi also clarified the teachers were not missing, but only unable to attend the meeting which is understandable given the situation in Marawi.
Maddi said they could be looking after their own family, or perhaps searching for food or shelter amid the ongoing violence.
Some 1,000 teachers – mostly staying in the evacuation centers in Iligan City and Cagayan De Oro City – have been accounted for, the DepEd said.