By Ismael Amigo I Published: July 22, 2o2o
TANAUAN CITY – La Consolacion College-Tanauan (LCCT) came under fire last week as the Catholic school got flooded on social media with complaints of sexual harassment against one of its faculty members.
Up until this writing, the identity or name of the faculty member involved remains withheld or unknown but, already, LCCT released an official statement on its FB account regarding the matter.
Asked to comment on the issue, LCCT replied and directed OpinYon Batangas to
refer to the same four-paragraph statement it posted on Facebook that reads:
“LCCT has been fully aware and did not turn a blind eye on the allegations currently circulating on social media.
“The school never tolerated teacher misconduct. Complaints against erring personnel have been acted upon but following due process.
“Rest assured that the school will take all legal means to ensure that complaints expressed by those concerned on the latest social media posts will be dealt upon.
“We are thankful to our students and alumni who remain grateful to LCCT and who recognize the good things the school has done for them.”
Turning a Blind Eye
Under it, LCCT’s official statement gathered a total of 1,000 assorted reactions, 116 comments and 528 shares.
Among the “Most Relevant” comment was a post by one Diane Deguzman that succinctly puts it: “We parents are hoping for a better and safer place for our children so we are expecting the school to investigate and take necessary actions regarding this matter.”
That post generated 48 reactions while another comment by a certain Donny Leviste netted 49 “thumbs up” signs as he said: “Kada batch may entry na teacher so it’s been happening for a long time na. Given your situation I don’t think you did not really turn a blind eye on this.”
A former student of LCCT in the name of a certain Franz Froilan Gumapac claimed it would have been more acceptable had his alma mater made a public apology instead of posting on social media an official statement on the issue.
“Never tolerated? Acted upon? Your official statement would have been better if you chose to make it an APOLOGY instead of HUGAS KAMAY pa din kung talagang welfare ng mga bata ang priority niyo,” Gumapac, who is now taking up medicine in La Salle Lipa, said.
“If you are so concerned about your reputation then let me make it clear that the REPUTATION of the school are its STUDENTS, NOT the ADMIN.”
Not an Isolated Case
LCCT is run by Catholic nuns under the Order of St. Augustine (OSA).
LCCT’s sexual harassment case is not isolated. In fact, similar cases recently rocked prominent schools in mega-Manila in the past few weeks.
Only recently, Sunshine Cruz called out the Business College Government of the De La Salle University saying it should hold one of its officers accountable after the actress found out that the former is one of the online users responsible for posting lewd comments about her and her daughters.
The incident supposedly happened two years ago, but it resurfaced after one of the actress’ daughters, Samantha, took to Twitter recently to speak up against the supposed sexual predators of her mom and their youngest sister from their own school.
“If this is right, I don’t know what’s wrong anymore,” she said.
On Monday, the DLSU Business College Government (BCG) released a statement addressing the misconduct of one of its officers tagged in the online exchange.
It said that while the officer “has since released an apology statement” about the incident, DLSU BCG will still hold him accountable for his actions.
Faculty Member Axed
Earlier, the De La Salle University also axed a longtime faculty member, Claro Ganac, after posting on social media suggesting that Sen. Risa Hontiveros should be sexually harassed by New Bilibid Prison inmates.
Ganac’s booboo was committed after the lawmaker commented on Facebook over a post of a municipal police station warning women to refrain from wearing sexy clothes as they might get “raped.”
The chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, slammed the warning and said that rape does not take dress codes into account.
“There is no dress code for rape. Or for sexual harassment. Instead of teaching women how to dress, we should teach men not to rape,” she said.
Ganac shared a social media card featuring her comments and said that she should “teach the prisoners in Bilibid prison NOT to rape” in a “closed-door session.”
With those sexually charged comments, the DLSU management said Ganac’s teaching contract will no longer be renewed.
Last June 28, 200, Katipunan-based Ateneo de Manila University also issued an official statement saying it would look into fresh allegations of sexual harassment against some members of its faculty.
The Jesuit-led university also vowed to conduct an impartial investigation on the matter “when warranted.”
“We are saddened by recent social media posts of reported incidents of sexual harassment by certain members of the faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University.
We assure our students that we are here to listen and support anyone who has experienced harassment,” the Katipunan-based university said in a statement on Saturday evening.
“We are verifying these reports and are ready to immediately begin an impartial investigation when warranted,” Ateneo said in the wake of the new claims.
Ateneo also reiterated its stance against sexual harassment, noting how the university prioritizes the welfare of students, as well as its mandate to make the campus a safe space for all. It likewise encouraged students and other parties to report information to concerned university authorities CNN PH reported.
This is not the first time Ateneo addressed allegations of the same nature.
Late last year, students and some faculty members of the university staged protests, calling for the removal of “sexual predators” at their campus. Some students said there have been cases of sexual harassment where professors have gone unpunished.
Ateneo President Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin has since apologized to the student community in light of the protests, and promised to take action to make the campus a “safer school.”
This includes the proposed formation of an Office for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.
Neighboring school Miriam College also vowed to investigate reported incidents of sexual harassment in its campus, after several students and alumni called for justice for the victims.
The hashtag #MCHSdobetter shot to the top trending topics on social media early last month, as they spoke up about their personal experiences of alleged harassment by the school’s teachers.
Such incidents could only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Other similar cases of sexual harassment may have been or likewise being committed across the country unnoticed and unreported.
Students should be reminded to exercise their rights and to immediately seek the help of authorities and their parents.
Keeping mum on crimes committed against an individual like these, makes one an accessory to the crime committed.
Every police station in the country has its own children and women’s desks where one can readily lodge his/her complaint.
A year ago, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a bill that will impose heftier penalties for gender-based sexual harassment including catcalling and wolf-whistling in public spaces.
Duterte signed the Republic Act 11313 of Safe Spaces Act on April 17, 2019.
Under the law, crimes of gender-based streets and public spaces sexual harassment are committed through “any unwanted and uninvited sexual actions or remarks against any person regardless of the motive for committing such action or remarks.”
The new law imposes penalties and fines from ranging from P1,000 to P500,000 including prison terms ranging from six days to six months.