By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Education Secretary Leonor Briones underscored the important role of uniformed personnel in nation-building noting that “teaching is not the business of teachers alone.”
Briones, along with other Cabinet secretaries, recognized the “self-sacrifice and distinctive acts” of heroism and gallantry of military heroes in the recent ceremonial signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9049, otherwise known as “An Act Granting Monthly Gratuity and Privileges to an Awardee of the Medal of Valor” at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
The medal of valor is the highest military award given to an officer for his or her gallantry and distinctive acts of heroism. As stated in the policy, the State shall give lifetime monthly gratuity of P75,000.00, along with other social services and financial rewards to the MOV awardees and their beneficiaries.
“Soldiers, policemen, uniformed personnel of our country have always been looked up to, have always been loved and respected,” Briones said. “And we in the Department of Education recognize this as we teach our children respect, citizenship, and appreciation for those who protect us,” she added.
Briones further underscored the importance of uniformed personnel. “I always tell my teachers that learning is not the business of teachers alone,” she said. “We motivate, we facilitate, we teach our learners; the nurses and the doctors keep our learners healthy; the engineers build our schools; transportation builds roads, airports so we can move around; but the soldiers die – it’s their lives that they offer to us so that you can grow up and perhaps become a soldier yourself or become a policeman yourself,” she added.
Briones also reiterated the support that the education sector can commit and extend to the MOV awardees and their beneficiaries in addition to free tuition. “We will urge all our schools, our teachers to see to it that the beneficiaries of the Medal of Valor awards will be endorsed to the various partners that we have,” she said – referring to the Department’s partner organizations that provide shoes, uniforms, and even health and hygiene supplies for children.
The ceremonial signing was graced by the 13 principal signatories headed by the Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana; DepEd Secretary Briones; Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade, Department of Environment and National Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu; Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año; Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen Benjamin Madrigal Jr.; Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Prospero De Vera Jr.; Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairperson Alicia Dela Rosa-Bala; National Housing Authority (NHA) represented by Susan Nonato; Department of Health (DOH) Secretary represented by Assistant Secretary Elmer Punzalan; Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), and Department of Finance officials; and the MOV awardees.
For Briones, the legacy of the military personnel is their “being a role model for the future citizens of this country.” On the part of DepEd, she assured that “we commit to maintain this image which we inculcate among our learners.”