Cultural awareness, appreciation must start with DepEd officials – Briones

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

In line with its efforts to boost deeper understanding and respect for Philippine culture, the Education Secretary Leonor Briones expressed hope that watching operas on patriotism and nationalism would be an annual activity for the learners and personnel under the Department of Education (DepEd).

Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN)
Education Secretary Leonor Briones (DepEd / MANILA BULLETIN)

Following the successful staging of “Noli Me Tangere, The Opera” last week, Briones expressed hope that watching operas would be an annual activity for the DepEd that will accommodate more learners, teachers, and DepEd officials and personnel from farther regions.

“Sana when we celebrate the birthday of Jose Rizal, hindi lang sa pamamagitan ng speeches, sa pag-display ng Philippine flag,” Briones said.

“Kung hindi basahin ulit natin ang Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo at the best pa talaga ay manood tayo ng opera,” she added.

Last June 21 and 22, DepEd in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), sponsored the show “Noli Me Tangere, The Opera” for teachers, learners, officials, and staff at the CCP Complex.

Briones emphasized that cultural awareness and appreciation must start with DepEd officials.

“Ang aming mga regional director mula Region I hanggang Region XII ay nandito kasi kung ituturo natin ang Noli Me Tangere sa ating learners, kailangan mag-umpisa sa liderato ng ating Departamento,” she said during her welcome message.

For Briones, operas are the most complete expression of culture.

“Nandiyan na yung musika, ang istorya kaseng ito ay based on the novel of Jose Rizal at nandiyan na yung dancing, ang costumes, ang lighting…halos lahat ng art forms ay nandiyan na at saka ang tagos ng musika ay diretso sa puso,” she added.

The activity intended to provide a great opportunity for high school teachers and students to explore a period in Philippine history presented through vivid artistic performance; expose education stakeholders to a wealth of education resources through theater arts; and promote nationalism and sense of patriotism.

School heads, head teachers of Filipino, English, and Music, Arts, Physical Education, and Health (MAPEH); high school teachers of Filipino, English, and MAPEH; and Grade 9 students from selected schools divisions of Regions III, IV-A and National Capital Region filled the CCP main theater watched the opera on June 21.

Meanwhile, among the audience of the show last June 22 were: DepEd executive committee members; regional directors (RDs) and assistant RDs; schools division superintendents (SDSs) and assistant SDSs; central office (CO) bureau and service directors; CO division chiefs and selected staff members.

Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola, and DFA Director Iric Arribas also watched the opera.

Briones also encouraged the audience, especially the learners, to imbibe the rich Filipino culture and history presented in opera show, which is based on the famed novel by the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal.

“Kailangan manood kayo, makinig kayo para talagang makita ninyo kung gaano kaganda ang ating kultura, ang ating musika, at ang ating history as a people,” she said.

Meanwhile, Briones urged incoming learners to be more interested in the arts.

“Ang gusto natin dadami sana ang ating mga learners, mga estudyante na pipiliin nila ang theater arts, pipiliin nila ang musika, pipiliin nila ang literature bilang isang propesyon,” she shared as she iterated how most SHS students choose the academic and technical-vocational-livelihood tracks, while a few pick arts and design and sports.