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Thursday, July 17, 2014


(This is an open letter to Education Secretary Armin Luistro)

The National Task Force on Senior High School (NTF-SHS) of the Department of Education (DepEd) has required high schools to submit several requirements and letter of intent to open SHS for scholl year 2016-2017.

The requirements include facilities for SHS tracks/strands, such as instructional rooms, laboratory studies, workshop rooms, learner’s resources center, equipments and/or instruments, internet facilities, among others, without specifying the items to set up.

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As an existing high school since 1947 in the poor islands of Camotes, we found the requirements onerous and impossible to comply with because our current facilities are only good for the present crops of students up to grade 10 or fourth year high school.

And we lack funds to build more.

If, indeed, public and private high schools are to begin K-12 program starting SY 2016-2017, the preparation should have been in place a few years ago. We have not yet even received the formal curriculum offering for K-12.

It appears to me that the SHS Task Force expects us to device our own curriculum program. The Task Force is requiring us to open a K-12 program as if we were intending to open a new school, with so many requirements.

We believe, however, that there is an easy solution to this problem of unpreparedness, as discussed by Dr. Eladio C. Dioko, retired DepEd 7 director in an earlier article.

If government policy is the problem, then the government must provide the solution.

With all resources, that we in private education do not have, government should make fast move to open more Tesda training lab and workshops in every town, district and city immediately.

Private high schools’ opening K-12 shall be given the option to either build or provide their own facilities for K-12 if they have the money, or to send K-12 students to Tesda if they cannot put up their own lab facilities. Teaching of academic subjects stay.

In the case of Camotes islands, one big Tesda training center can serve the needs of all public and private high schools in the towns of Tudela, Pilar, Poro, and San Francisco. Of course, under state budget.

My family will provide free 5,000 sq. meters of land area at Mt. Moriah College for Tesda to build anytime, and the time to begin is now.--Dr. Aguido Magdadaro, Mt. Moriah College/Camotes Visayan Institute in Poro, Cebu

MacArthur’s return

I’d like to congratulate my good friend Consul John Domingo and Mila Espina for the well-scripted program on the Independence anniversary of the United States last July 4 at Marco Polo Hotel.

One of the most memorable events of my political career was the rare honor to welcome and present a memorial scroll to Gen. MacArthur at Plaza Independencia when he visited Cebu City in connection with his “sentimental journey.”

The General was so pleased over that spontaneous show of our gratitude and affection that he hugged and kissed the young ladies who gave him bouquets.

When World War II broke out in December 1941, I was barely 19 years old and was one of the seven distinguished graduates of the advance ROTC course among the colleges in Cebu. But because of my age I did not get commissioned as second lieutenant of the Philippine Army like my comrades.

Something worse happened to me a few months later when Lt. Col. Cabatingan informed me that the papers for my commission were lost when the ship mv Cebu that carried their communique to Manila was sunk by the Japanese navy.

That was a bleak period in our country’s history. We became more desperate especially with the fall of Bataan and Corregidor.

We thought all was lost but then we were heartened upon hearing the news that before he escaped to Australia, Gen. MacArthur vowed to our people that “I shall return.”

That promise became the beacon light and inspiration to our beleaguered Filipino soldiers so that guerillas mushroomed everywhere.

I joined the resistance with the Bohol Area Command operating in Cebu under Capt. Casiano Cabagnot. We engaged in propaganda, sabotage and fifth column activities underground.

Unfortunately for me, on the night of Aug. 5, 1944, I was seized from my residence at early dawn by some Japanese soldiers led by a fellow I knew, Edong Cabusas, one of the undercover men.

I was immediately taken to the Kempetai in the Japanese garrison in the area now occupied by the Cebu Normal University. A month later I was transferred, together with other military prisoners, to the Cebu Provincial Jail, now the Cebu Museum.

I kept praying for our release and the fulfilment of Gen. MacArthur’s promise to return and liberate us.

But I was dismayed to learn that some allied officers of the Usaffe wanted to go straight to Japan and bypass the Philippines. But Gen. MacArthur’s plan prevailed and he kept his promise.

That blessed day came when the triumphant general waded along the shores of Tacloban with our beloved President Sergio Osmeña Sr. and Gen. Carlos Romulo, “who was said to have bravely fought the backlash of MacArthur.

This indeed was the fulfilment of Gen. MacArthur’s promise to return and liberate our country. It is therefore fit and proper that we should remember Gen. MacArthur during the anniversary of US independence because he was also instrumental in the restoration of our own independence.

And I dare to say that we ought to celebrate our independence on July 4 together with the US because the short-lived independence proclaimed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on June 12, 1898 was preempted by the Treaty of Paris when Spain ceded the Philippines to the US for P20 million and we became a colony of the US until we were granted our independence on July 4, 1946.

Our great liberator was quoted in his farewell speech to the US Military Academy: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away. This may be true, but for us Filipinos the name of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his glorious deeds will never fade away. (Atty. Mario D. Ortiz )

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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