Alumni of former La Carlota High School, now Doña Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School (DHSBNHS), plied anew their protest to restore the old name of their school located in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental.
The move to bring the dispute to another level happened with its publication at The ManilaTimes’ issue of August 11, 2013 of an open letter to Philippine President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Alfredo Bibaoco, head of The La Carlota High School Alumni & Friends Restoration Committee, initiated the move. Now a successful real estate broker in California, Bibaoco and fellow graduates based in different parts of America, Canada and the Philippines, appealed to the president to heed their cry of justice and end their eight-year agony by intervening in the alleged illegal renaming of the school.
Bibaoco said, in 1984, the school was renamed by virtue of Batas Pambansa Blg. 545, which was approved on June 6, 1983. The new name was in honor of the mother of former Ambassador Roberto Benedicto, then a right hand man of the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
While members of the alumni and other graduates appreciate the charity of Doña Hortencia in donating a two-story 10-room building which was facilitated by Benedicto, they thought the naming in her honor could have been just for that building alone, not the whole school.
The move obliterated the noble deeds of other contributing founders like former Gov. Rafael Lacson, former Rep. Carlos Hilado, Mayor Democrito Canlas, the council members and other donors of the school site.
To top it all, the renaming resulted in a loss of identity of the graduates of La Carlota High School, the loss of opportunities for greatness of the city attached to the horde of successful renowned graduates of the old high school.
The previous petition was brought to the attention of the Department of Education and here are the reasons in declining the advocacy of the alumni, as stated in their advertorial:
1.”This was long before the enactment of the laws relied upon in your letter specifically the 1987 Constitution and the RA 7160 (The Local Government Code of 1991). The same holds true for the DECS Service Manual of 2000. These Laws and issuances therefore have no force and effect on B.P.545.”—Mildred Garay CESO lll, Regional Director.
2.”The school benefits from the donations that derived from the Benedicto family of which the local executive and the congressman are part of it. The school has established harmonious relationship with its stakeholders and the move to rename the school might result in discord.” – Denny C. Castaneda Principal IV, Dona Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School, La Carlota City, Philippines 6130
3.”Thus, we regret to inform you that other than pointing out the proper procedure in changing the name of the subject school back to its former name, this Department COULD NOT BE OF MORE HELP.” – Atty. Alberto T. Muyot Undersecretary For Legal & Legislative Affairs, Dep. Ed.
The group almost lost its drive to pursue their quest, until this day, when they thought a once hot desire can still be resurrected and the way it can be heard again is through this paper’s pages that will certainly catch the president’s attention.