On September 5, 2013, Education Secretary Armin Luistro issued a memorandum order that was disseminated nationwide. The memo, titled DepEd order no. 36, was distributed to all officials of the Department of Education (DepEd)–undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, bureau directors, regional directors, superintendents in school divisions and heads of public elementary and high schools.
Just like many memorandums of the department, it may have been read and then dismissed by many.
The memorandum order is simple but on closer look, it is very meaningful for it contains the department’s mission, vision and core values.
In its simplicity, it stands out because if taken to heart and followed by every Filipino, it would help cure the many problems ailing Philippine society today.
The DepEd’s vision goes: “We dream of Filipinos who passionately love their country and whose values and competencies enable them to realize their full potential and contribute meaningfully to building the nation.”
In a nutshell, the Education department describes the duties of teachers—inculcate nationalism, teach moral values and train students so that they will later on become productive members of society.
The memo also reveals the DepEd’s core value—Maka-diyos, Maka-tao, Makakalikasan and Makabansa. Again, it shows the department’s desire to turn students into God-fearing, nature-loving nationalists who have genuine concern for their fellowmen.
The order also reiterates the DepEd’s mission: To protect and promote the right of every Filipino to quality, culture-based and complete basic education where students learn in a friendly, gender-sensitive and safe environment where students learn in a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe, and motivating environment, teachers facilitate learning and constantly nurture every learner, administrators and staff, as stewards of the institution, ensure an enabling and supportive environment for effective learning to happen, and family, community, and other stakeholders are actively engaged and share responsibility for developing life-long learners
The issuance of this memorandum order is timely. Reiterating the values with which all educators and education officials should live by at a time when the nation is petrified in shock and disbelief, and bristling with anger and indignation, at the massive misuse of public funds and the brazen way with which government officials, some of them lawmakers, abused their power and authority, is pure genius on the part of Secretary Armin Luistro. His timing in issuing the memo could not have been more perfect. For there is no doubt that the times call for moral regeneration. When there is a seeming breakdown of moral values as proven by these widespread and massive anomalies in government, leaders in various sectors, including the Church, should come together and shepherd their flock to the right path. The Education Secretary may have also seen this need to guide educators, and remind them of their noble mission: educate students, teach them ethics and moral conduct, and exert all efforts to make their young wards grow up into upright and responsible members of society.
If we are to help weed out the corrupt from our midst, we have to start tending and cultivating the ethics and values of the youngest members of society—the children. Young minds need a moral compass and people to look up to. Teachers would make good examples of upright individuals, if they will keep to heart the vision and missions of the Education department.
(Author is the Secondary Principal II of Amulung National High School in Amulung, Cagayan)