The only time the sorry state of our public schools lands in the pages of newspapers or is given a few minutes’ airtime on radio and television is during the opening and closing of classes.
As if it were not sickening enough to hear about the lack of classrooms, textbooks and teachers every year despite the billion-peso budget of the Department of Education (DepEd), reports of compulsory contributions for medals or diplomas and even chairs for the graduation exercises flood the media at this time of the year.
I was lucky to have gone to private elementary and high schools. However, I can’t recall that my playmates, who went to a nearby public elementary school, complained of these questionable contributions.
Back then, public school graduates attended their respective graduation exercises in their school uniforms while the guests sat in classroom chairs moved to the auditorium or school grounds.
I graduated from high school when Ferdinand Marcos was the leader of this nation, and he is said to be the most corrupt chief executive in the history of the Philippines.
But during those days, one rarely heard complaints from parents about compulsory contributions especially during graduation time.
However, stern warnings from DepEd against the collection of compulsory or forced contributions in public schools during this time of the year fall on deaf ears as unscrupulous school officials continue to milk their poor students. Tsk, tsk,tsk.
A job well done
Last Saturday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) arrested the leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the party’s armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), in Cebu. Six other the communist leaders were likewise caught.
Among those arrested were CPP/NPA big bosses Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma.
The top rebel leader and his men did not put up a fight when they were flagged down around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Carcar City by several heavily armed Army personnel.
As this developed, the Mendez, Cavite Philippine National Police (PNP) shot it out with members of the Navarro kidnap-for-ransom group.
Navaro KFR boss Rusky Casipe was killed on the spot when he reportedly chose to shoot it out with the lawmen who were armed with warrants for the group members’ arrest.
Congratulations AFP and PNP. Job well done boys.