CEBU’S TEACHER COPS

When police officers become teachers to children in need

By: Alven Marie A. Timtim - Correspondent/CDN Digital | November 22,2020 - 09:00 AM

Staff Sergeant Raffe Tejares of the Sogod Police Station teaches Kulot, a former child in conflict with the law, on his studies at the Sogod Police Station. | Photo courtesy of Sogod Police Station

DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental — How can those poor students, who have no one to turn to to help them with their studies in this time of the new normal, cope and succeed?

That is the question that brought about a new breed of police officers to go the extra mile to help these kinds of students — they are what we call the “teacher-policemen or teacher-policewomen of Cebu or simply Cebu’s “teacher-cops”.

During their free time, these police officers are volunteers, who help these students to understand the topics in their learning modules.

One of these teacher policemen is Staff Sergeant Tejares of the Sogod Police Station, which is under Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO). Sogod is a fourth class municipality in northern Cebu.

Tejares of Sogod Police Station

Tejares is currently helping not only a child of a detainee from their police station, but also a child who is a former child in conflict with the law (CICL).

Tejares, 30, of Borbon town in northern Cebu has been tutoring and teaching the child known to them as “Kulot” for almost three months now since the classes under the new normal started last August.

In an interview with CDN Digital, Tejares revealed that Kulot is actually a scholar of their police station.

“Kani siya, iyang mama labandera unya iyang papa piniriso. Dayun siya na involve sa illegal drugs and kawat before,” said Tejares.

(This child has a laundrywoman as a mother and an inmate as his father. Then he got involved in the illegal drugs and theft before.)

Tejares said that Kulot was only released last August from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Third among four siblings of a detainee father and low income mother, Tejares said, that Kulot would be often seen visiting the police station.

Kulot, who eventually caught the eye of the police station commander, Lieutenant Roel Sarco Tanza, started helping in his own way and running errands for the policemen in the station.

Eventually, the police station commander offered Kulot a chance to go back to school with Lieutenant Tanza offering to pay for Kulot’s tuition. With this, Tejares and the other police officers in the police station chipped in by offering their free time to help Kulot in his studies.

And this was what started the bond of Tejares and Kulot. 

Second chances

Tejares is a firm believer that people are capable to change into better and therefore deserved a second chance at life. 

He said that children especially had more potential to become good people all the way and that would be why guidance from people, who value goodness would be very important.

“Deserving sa mga bata, kay ngano? Ang mga bata, taas pa kaayo og future nga maabot. Kailangan mahatag ang second chance kay mao nay purohan nga ang mga bata mausab. Mamold sila nga maayo ilang pundasyon,” said Tejares.

(The child deserves a second change, why? Because children has a future to aim for. They should be given a second chance because there is a strong chance that they will change. They can molded if their foundation is good.)

Empathy, compassion and determination

Tejares admitted that the learning modules of Kulot was not easy especially since he too did not graduate from school and was not a teacher by profession.

But feeling compassion for the child, Tejares said he was ready to overcome these challenges and take responsibility to help Kulot succeed in his classes.

He said he knew how Kulot felt having no one to turn to to help him with his studies.

Tejares has been there before where Kulot is.

“Puro mag-uuma akong ginikanan, ika 11 ko nga anak. Dayun ako lang nakakupot og propesyon kay ang uban vocational unya ang uban nakagraduate dayun na minyo,” he said.

(My parents are farmers and I am the 11th child of the family. I was the only one who proceeded and practiced my profession because my other siblings took vocational courses and when they graduated from school they then got married.)

“Mao bitaw magtan-aw ko sa mga bata ilabi na ni Kulot nga sayangan ko kung dili maka iskuyla. Mao tong akoa jud siya gitudloan. Nareflect man gud nako ang kapait kong walay moguide,” said Tejares.

(That is why when I look at the children, especially Kulot, I feel that they have lost a big opportunity if they cannot go to school. That is the reason that I do my best to teach him. I can see the hardships Kulot will face if there is no one to guide him.)

Tejares is not alone in his desire and goal to help children like Kulot.

CCPO volunteer cops

In the Cebu City Police Office (CPPO), there are several teacher-policemen, who like Tejares volunteer and share their free time to help those students with their online and modular classes, especially those, whose parents were detained in jail.

The CCPO even inform the public in their Facebook posts about the progress of their program from time to time.

These teacher-policemen like Tejares are a new breed indeed as they give poor students especially those children in conflict with the law a shot at a second chance at life by guiding them, offering them a better road to take by helping them with their studies and perhaps succeed in life./dbs

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