By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
A group of private schools on Friday appealed to government officials and leaders to “think twice” before making remarks and pronouncements particularly on issues or topics that may affect the values formation of young people – especially students.
The Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA) expressed alarm and concern on the recent remark of Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio that honesty should not be made an issue this election season since “everybody lies.”
“Please help school[s] to understand about honesty is [still] the best policy,” said FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag. Duterte-Carpio’s remarks on honesty, he noted, “really disappointed us in education.”
In most – if not – all schools, Kasilag said that “walls are decorated with big poster that says: HONESTY is the best policy” [and] now, if that does not apply [anymore], what shall we use to substitute that?” he added.
Kasilag lamented that Duterte-Carpio’s remarks on honesty is disappointing especially at a time when fake news becomes more and more prevalent with the advent of the Internet and social websites. “I thought this government is against corruption?” echoing the saying: “ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw (a liar is a sibling of a thief).”
Given Duterte-Carpio’s influence – particularly of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte – Kasilag expressed hope that lying would not become an “in thing” especially among students and young people. “Even parents shall have a hard time now to discipline their kids when trust is not virtue anymore and hardly considered,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kasilag could not help but ask, “Where is education in the county go in this situation?” As the graduation time comes to a close, he urged Duterte-Carpio – as well as from other leaders— to clarify this issue. “We need to hear clarification from our leaders, we need to hear from Mayor Sara what she really needs before I make my speech this coming graduation because I intend to stress on ‘honesty is the best policy’,” he added.
Duterte-Carpio is the Chairperson of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) which is a political alliance campaigning for Senatorial candidates endorsed by the current administration in the 2019 midterm elections in May.
Meanwhile, FAPSA is also pushing for “school vote” to become a guiding principle when choosing candidates to vote for the coming elections which was inspired by “Catholic vote” or other religious votes.
“We shall have education and moral values as bases to vote for candidates,” Kasilag said. While the campaign aims to compliment the Catholic Votes as well as that of other religious congregation, the “School Vote” initiative of FAPSA “will not consider ‘winnability’ or blindly follow candidates leading in the surveys or endorsed by the administration.”
The “School Vote,” Kasilag said, is anchored on choosing candidates who “have credible platform also for education” – especially for the private schools. “We have problems in our government because qualifications to run for elective posts have become ‘just for anyone’,” he said.
Kasilag alleged that “most officials in our government are involved in corruption and plunder” which – in a FAPSA school – is a “reasonable grounds for dismissal or worse even expulsion.”
Role of teachers
Meanwhile, Kasilag emphasized the role of teachers in the “School Vote” initiative.
“Teachers [should] do the most research,” Kasilag said. “We educate both the candidates and the voters that it is imperative that we do school vote but we shall not compel FAPSA school members to follow [and] we shall strongly appeal to our member schools,” he explained
Kasilag noted that by doing this we “shall even emphasize our values of patriotism, good education and family.” FAPSA intends to immediately implement this before the academic year ends. “We still have time especially we now have FAPSANET (Fast Accurate Private School Application Network), a tie-up with Mislatel, the third major telco,” he said.
FAPSA intends to release the guidelines for the “School Vote” before graduation and do the monitoring thru the FAPSANET. “If it is possible, we shall give more than 12 names of senatorial aspirants so that our voters from the private schools shall have more choices from among the list,” he explained.
With the “School Vote” initiative, Kasilag hopes that the outcome of the upcoming midterm polls will be beneficial especially for the education sector. More than ever, he noted that the Filipino students “need to have a better government.”