VIEW FROM CALUMPANG: Diego Cagahastian

Year of learning dangerously

Apr 28, 2023, 2:27 AM
Diego S. Cagahastian

Diego S. Cagahastian


VICE President Sara Duterte is one of a few government officials who clearly takes her position and responsibilities seriously. She is at the same time the secretary of the Department of Education.

As the communist-led New People's Army (NPA) has persistently harassed the military in Masbate province, there had been sporadic clashes between rebels and soldiers in several towns of the province recently. This resulted in disruption not only in the people's livelihood but also the children's studies.

At ther height of the hostilities, some 2,815 teachers and school personnel in 140 schools in Masbate province were forced to shift their classes to modular learning setup.

A total of 55,199 students in public schools were affected in the towns of Dimasalang, Placer, Cawayan, Esperanza, Cataingan and Uson. Modules were distributed to the houses of the learners with the help of the barangay officials and parents.

During the first encounter in Barangay Villahermosa in Cawayan town on March 20, one soldier perished and shrapnel from a grenade launcher landed in a classroom of Villahermosa National High School. Two more separate explosions occurred two days later, leading to clashes in Placer and Dimasalang towns that wounded two soldiers, two police officers and a civilian.

Recently, the VP visited Masbate and urged public school students in the strife-torn areas to continue studying as it is the key to ending the cycle of poverty.

Among the educational institutions she inspected were the Palani Integrated School in Balud, Guindawahan Elementary School in Pio Corpuz, Locso-on Elementary School and Arriesgado Sevilleno High School in Placer, Villa Hermosa Elementary School and Villa Hermosa National High School in Cawayan, and Masbate National Comprehensive High School in Masbate City.

She reminded learners at Locso-on Elementary School to duck and seek cover when they hear gunfire, held a dialogue with them and their parents. Duterte also led in the distribution of PagbaBAGo school supplies and dental kits to 1,513 students in seven public schools.

The PagbaBAGo campaign, a lift-off from her days as Davao City mayor, aims to "instill the importance of basic education and nurture the right attitude among young Filipinos to succeed in life."

Duterte listened to school heads and teachers about their concerns, and they talked about the need for more classrooms, school buildings, lessening paperwork, and providing stress debriefing following the clashes.

Jeanina Cabanban, head teacher of the Guindawahan Elementary School, said she was happy that Duterte heard them and showed her concern on their problems.

Cabanban said they are thankful that VP Duterte reached out to them, instead of them reaching out to her.

The Vice President knows that the NPA is able to recruit supporters because these people thought that the government does not care for them. If BBM is lacking in this area, Duterte is there to fill the gap.

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