THE Department of Education (DepEd)-Northern Mindanao said they have not received any reports on students being recruited to become members of the New People's Army (NPA).
"My office does not received any official report on that matter. If there are talks about it, well, these are just speculations but there are no official reports in the office regarding that," DepEd Regional Director Arturo Bayocot said.
"We assure you that we open our schools even to the farthest barangay because we want to let the community feel that the basic services of the government, of course to include education, is really present there," he added.
As for President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 70 on institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation approach to stop insurgency, the education regional director said that the share of the DepEd is to "make sure that K-12 curriculum is delivered in all schools, whether public or private."
Education Undersecretary Tonisito Umali, for his part, said that the issue on how these communist rebels were able to penetrate the schools has been tackled in the senate hearing.
"Sa public schools, DepEd up to senior high school, wala pang naiulat sa atin ngayon. Pero doon sa senate hearing, may naiulat mga ilan sa PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) Senior High School, UE (University of the East) at isa pang private senior high school," Umali said.
"At tayo kaagad-agad, senior high school, nakikipag-ugnayan sa mga paaralan na ito para masiguro na hindi na po mauulit ito," he added.
Umali said the DepEd has already issued an order to regulate out-of-school activities.
"Kasi diyan nangyayari yan, lalabas yung mga bata, mga organisasyon, nire-regulate natin mabuti yan," he said.
In the said DepEd order, the education undersecretary said that all out-of-school activities should be approved by the Schools Division Superintendent and the student involved should have a written consent from their parents.
"Any out of school activity that parents do not know, that the school's division superintendent did not approve, these are illegal. Hindi yan pu-pwede. Kaya ganyan ang dahilan kung bakit wala kang makikita sa pampublikong paaralan na mga ganyang pangyayari dail mahigpit tayo diyan," Umali said.
According to the 4th Infantry Division's Custodial Debriefing Reports from 2016 to 2019, the average age recruited by the New People's Army (NPA) is 17 years old, but the youngest is 12.