Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Thursday, Nov. 24, defended her stand on reiterating the observance of professionalism among teachers and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepED).
“Some do not understand my position with regard to professionalism,” Duterte said during her keynote speech for the culminating program of the 30th National Children’s Month (NCM).
Duterte reiterated that teachers, “have no business drinking alcohol” with their students. “And if you are a teacher and you are attracted to a student you are drinking with, that is preliminaries to what you want to do to the child,” she added.
She also noted that whenever she talks to teachers in the field, she tells them to always be mindful of the line between them and their students. “You are a person of authority, you are not supposed to be biased in your dealings with student,” she said.
Whenever teachers go out with their students, drink, and watch pornography with them, Duterte said that doing these “blurs the line with you as a figure of authority.”
Duterte shared that when she assumed her role as the DepEd Secretary in June this year, “not only did I have to think of solutions to the problems that had hounded the department for years, but I also had to deal with disturbing and painful stories about learners being victims of sexual abuse.”
She shared a story involving a government teacher dismissed from the department for sexually abusing three students in 2018.
“The dismissal meant the cancellation of his eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and permanent disqualification from government service,” she said.
Duterte also shared an “exposé that contained personal accounts of alumni students who admitted going through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse from their teachers and school personnel.”
Some cases, she said, were “classic examples of sexual grooming” which is a predatory activity primarily by adult offenders who use their position, resources, charm, and influence to carry out their plan against a child or another vulnerable adult.
“Kaya lagi kong sinasabi talaga sa mga (I always tell our) teachers na (that) you should be professional dahil (because) you are dispensing service to these students who are your clients, and therefore you have to be unbiased and you have to be a role model to them,” she added.
Headed by the DepEd Child Protection Unit (CPU), the Culminating Program of the 2022 NCM was also attended by the members of the DepEd Executive Committee and other guests.