February 28, 2024

After the hacking incident that disturbed the peace at sitio Daulan, Barangay Amduntog in Asipulo, Ifugao, the community underwent psychological debriefing especially in the school where the 11 victims, including schoolchildren, are attending. 

Department of Education-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño said she has instructed the schools division superintendent to study the situation and determine if the school is ready to commence face-to-face classes.   

“Meantime, they have the modules and they can study it; it will depend on who is directly affected,” Cariño said.

On Oct. 18, suspect Davis Bullong ran amok with a bolo in hand, and began randomly hacking individuals from a private residence to the barangay hall, and finally to the Asipulo Central School (ACS), where pupils and parents were about to go home.

This resulted in the death of a five-year-old pupil, whose mother and sibling also sustained injuries, including 10 other individuals before Bullong was shot to death by a responding policeman. 

Cariño said the ASC where the students were hacked and the neighboring schools suspended classes following the incident as the community was traumatized.

The DepEd officials said the schools can conduct blended learning and can go back to regular in-person classes, once they have assessed it is safe and if the teachers and students are psychologically stable.

The PNP has also increased police presence in the schools.

“We can only request for their presence pero iyon nga ang realization that at least our school will be fenced, so that not just everyone will enter the schools,” Cariño said, as she hoped the fencing project will be a priority with support from the municipality.

Cariño said the residents remain fearful of the brother of the suspect, who was reported to be on the loose and is also mentally-challenged. However, the Ifugao Police Provincial Office stated the suspect’s brother is now under the custody of the police.

She said they are hoping all schools in the region would also be fenced as an added security.

DepEd-CAR reported not all schools can afford to hire security guards as there are no items for security guards in the regular budget of the agency.

“But the PTA can have that as a project and if the maintenance and other operating expenses can afford that then we have to hire at least a security guard,” she said. 

The Public Information Office of Asipulo, municipal and provincial officials, and different line agencies went to Amduntog on Oct. 20 to provide immediate care and financial assistance to the families of the victims.

Other teams from the neighboring towns of Banaue, Hingyon, Hungduan, Tinoc, Kiangan, Lagawe and Lamut also provided support to the residents. – Ofelia C. Empian