Kids, teachers caught in cross fire get psychosocial help

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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 — The municipality of Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte has conducted psychosocial interventions to parents, teachers and students of the Magwawa Integrated School in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte who were caught in a cross fire between government troops and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels last Thursday.

Lawyer Elisa Lapiña, municipal administrator of Sto. Tomas, led the psychosocial activities held on Friday.

“In an armed conflict situation, the teachers and students are greatly affected in various ways and consequently require different kinds of support. That’s why we are here in the community to give the necessary intervention they needed,” Lapiña said in a statement.

Mart Sambalud, Sto. Tomas Municipal Information Officer, said the exchange of gunfire in nearby Barangay Colosas here was heard by residents of Barangay Magwawa, especially those at the Magwawa Integrated School.

“The firefight lasted about 10 minutes and it has caused disruption of classes in a nearby public elementary school,” Sambalud told the Philippine News Agency in an interview on Saturday.

The distance between the villages of Colosas and Magwawa is about three kilometers.

“Magwawa Integrated School and the outskirts of Barangay Colosas where the clash happened were only divided by a river,” Sambalud said.

A number of traumatized school children and teachers were given respite through the psychosocial activities conducted by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) at Magwawa Integrated School, said Lapiña.

She said the purpose of the stress debriefing is “to help them process their traumatic experience.”

“This is something that is really needed since they are the frontliners and they were affected by the incident,” she said.

Personnel from MSWDO headed by Leilani Mae Rafol conducted critical incidence stress debriefing, play therapy and physical exercises to school children.

Rafol said the play therapy was to help the victims release their fears. (PNA)

Photo Credit: Philippine News Agency

The Philippine News Agency is a web-based newswire service of the Philippine government under the supervision of the News and Information Bureau (NIB) of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).

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