ADDRESSING THE THREAT. Mayor Sumulong Sultan (standing) convened the municipal peace and order council in Pikit, North Cotabato Tuesday (May 30, 2023) to address the resurgence of violence and gun attacks in the area. Currently, military and police forces in the area are escorting teachers to public schools following the killing of a teacher and wounding of another during a gun attack last May 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Army 90IB)

COTABATO CITY – Following the recent killing of a teacher and wounding of another in Pikit, North Cotabato, the military has started providing security escorts to public school teachers in critical villages of the municipality.

Lt. Col. Rowel Gavilanes, the Army's 90th Infantry Battalion commander, said Wednesday that his unit also deployed motorcycle-riding soldiers "in full battle gear” to protect public school teachers as they travel to their respective schools and on the way home.

“The Department of Education has been alarmed by the attacks against teachers in Pikit, so we are here providing them security,” Gavilanes said in a radio interview.

On May 26, unidentified motorcycle-riding gunmen attacked and killed Joel Reformado, a teacher at the Damalasak Elementary School in Pikit, and injured his co-teacher Elton John Lapinid, while both were onboard a motorbike.

They were among the victims of gun attacks that hit the town since last year.

The local police listed more than 30 victims of shooting in different villages of Pikit as of this posting.

Education officials have condemned the killing of Reformado and urged authorities to take steps to ensure the safety of teachers and students.

Pikit Mayor Sumulong Sultan has ordered all village chairpersons to come up with their own security plan and address the threats confronting their respective areas. (PNA)