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Davao City, Philippines

240 pupils, teachers get psychosocial debriefing after armed encounter

December 09, 2019 - Monday 6:12 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image HELP FOR TRAUMA. Lawyer Elisa Lapiña (standing), municipal administrator of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, leads psychosocial activities for parents, teachers and students of the Magwawa Integrated School in the town on Friday (Dec. 7, 2019). The interventions came after government troops figured in a firefight with the New People's Army a day earlier in nearby Barangay Colosas, Paquibato District in Davao City. (Photo courtesy of Sto. Tomas MIO)

DAVAO CITY -- At least 240 pupils and their teachers in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte who were traumatized following an armed encounter between Army troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) underwent psychosocial treatment on Friday.

The activity came after the reported armed confrontations between Army’s 89th Infantry Battalion (IB)  and NPA rebels on December 5, 2019 in the outskirts of Barangay Colosas in Paquibato District, this city.

The encounter  transpired just four kilometers away from Magwawa Integrated School.

Sto. Tomas Information officer Mart Sambalud said a number of traumatized school children and teachers were given respite through psychosocial activities conducted by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) at the Magwawa Integrated School.

He said the MSWDO personnel launched critical incidence stress debriefing, play therapy,  and physical exercises to school children. 

The MSWDO also conducted a group discussion or interaction where teachers had the chance to express  their feelings and reactions and how they were able to cope with the traumatic experience.

Municipal administrator Lawyer Elisa Lapiña, who led the activity, said in an armed conflict situation, “the teachers and students are greatly affected in various ways and consequently requires different kinds of support. That’s why we are here in the community to give the necessary intervention they needed.”

Mayor Ernesto Evangelista had earlier condemned the NPA for the encounter and immediately ordered the MSWDO to provide the necessary psychosocial intervention for the school children and teachers who were traumatized by the incident. 

“Although, the clash between the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and NPA did not happen within the jurisdiction of Sto. Tomas, as a peace loving community, we vehemently express our collective outrage over their callous disregard for peace and life,” Evangelista said in a statement.
 

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