BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Department of Education Negros Occidental strongly condemns all forms of violence, especially in schools, following the killing of teacher and her husband, which was reported by the police to have been perpetrated by a school principal who also shot himself on April 12 in Brgy. Pook, Hinobaan, Negros Occidental.
“We commit to the principle that schools are zones of peace where the safety and well-being of learners and personnel are of utmost importance,” disclosed Ian Arnold Arnaez, spokesperson of DepEd Negros Occidental, in a statement issued by DepEd.
The suspect identified by the Hinobaan police as Warren Escosar, principal of the Uybico Bilbao National High School in Hinobaan town, shot himself with a .45 caliber pistol after killing a teacher of the school, Almarisa Arroy and her husband Christopher, inside the school premises.
P/Maj. John Ganzon, Hinobaan police chief, said they are looking into the possibility that the motive was triggered by the filing of a complaint of sexual harassment by Almarisa against Escosar.
Arnaez said DepEd Negros Occidental is “saddened by the tragic shooting incident.”
Classes were immediately suspended at the Uybico Bilbao National High School after the incident.
Arnaez said DepEd commits to bringing back normalcy in the school community by providing psychological interventions to the students and personnel who witnessed and are affected by the tragedy.
Given that the case is now under investigation, he added that DepEd NegOcc does not wish to preempt the result and will await the official pronouncements of the Philippine National Police.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families for the loss of their loved ones, and we are one with them in this darkest moment of their lives,” he added.
Arnaez added that the department is working closely with other agencies and offices in dealing with the situation. “We appeal to all to exercise prudence in expressing their views and opinions on the incident in respect to the families of the victims,” Arnaez said.*