‘We make this determination following scrutiny of the various candidates’ track record as servant leaders, their proposed plans for education, and, more importantly, their character as individuals,’ the educators say in a joint statement
MANILA, Philippines – Top education leaders, including former secretaries of education, have expressed their support for the tandem of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan for the upcoming May 2022 polls.
In a joint statement released on Wednesday, March 2, over 100 past and current presidents of the largest colleges, and schools in the country signified their “unequivocal support” to Robredo and Pangilinan, who are gunning to be the country’s president and vice president, respectively.
“We make this determination following scrutiny of the various candidates’ track record as servant leaders, their proposed plans for education, and, more importantly, their character as individuals,” said the educators, the latest group to endorse the tandem.
The statement was signed by the following:
- Former Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson chairperson Patricia Licuanan
- Former CHED chairperson Ester Garcia
- Former CHED chairperson Angel Alcala
- Former Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Brother Armin Luistro
- Former DepEd secretary Dr. Hidalgo
- Former Technical Education and Skills Development director General Edicio dela Torre
- Former University of the Philippines (UP) president Emmanuel Soriano
- Ateneo de Manila University president Father Roberto Yap
- Dela Salle University president (DLSU) Brother Bernard Oca
- Adamson University president Father Marcelo Manimtim
- University of Cebu president Augusto Go
- Ateneo de Zamboanga president Father Karel San Juan
- Xavier University president Father Mars Tan
- Saint Louis University president Father Gilbert Sales
- University of the Immaculate Concepcion president Sr. Marissa Viri, concurrent president of the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP)
The statement was also supported by current and former leaders of the following education institutions:
- Assumption College
- Xavier School
- st. Theresa’s College
- st. Scholastica’s College Manila
- st. Paul’s University-Manila
- Don Bosco Educational Centers
- Holy Angel University
- Silliman University
- Philippine Normal University
- National Teachers College
- Colegio de Santa Isabel
- Bicol University
- West Visayas State University
- University of San Carlos-Cebu
- Western Mindanao State University
- Ateneo de Davao
The group lamented the country’s dismal performance in recent global education assessments, such as PISA 2018 and TIMMS, where the country ranked the lowest among 79 and 58 countries, respectively.
“As Robredo has demonstrated in her tenure as Vice President and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, her brand of leadership shines through best in times of crisis – one that can find solutions that are context-based, data-driven, and equity- oriented,” the group said.
“We believe that Robredo is the ‘Education President’ our country needs to address this learning crisis and attained quality education for all,” they added.
In July 2021, Robredo called on the government to declare a “learning crisis” in the Philippines following a World Bank report on poor learning results among Filipino students.. (READ: DepEd head demands apology from World Bank for PH poor education ranking)
Ateneo’s Yap explained their support for Robredo and Pangilinan.
“In our ongoing quest for a Philippines that is developed and progressive, Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan know the importance of having quality education available to all and have demonstrated, time and again, that no Filipino will be left behind,” Yap said. (READ: No student left behind? During pandemic, education ‘only for those who can afford’)
DLSU’s Oca, for his part, said: “Besides school infrastructure built, scholarships raised, skills training and SPED promotion, the Leni-Kiko tandem personifies what is good, true and noble in the vocation of an educator. They have compassion for the poor and the programs and competence to transform their lives through education.”
If elected, the tandem promised to provide students with gadgets and P300 monthly internet allowance.
PHINMA Education president Chito Salazar said: “We are in a learning crisis. Our choice of the next president and the education team and of all electoral officials are based on their prioritization of education. It’s significant that we make education an issue now and make education a continuing issue in this country even after the elections.”
Fight disinformation on Marcos years
The groups also expressed concern over disinformation, as they stressed the need to “straighten the facts about the Marcos years.”
“We take this stand in defense of truth, as we share our resounding condemnation of historical revisionism, presenting the Marcos dictatorship as ‘golden years’ despite the human rights abuses, the censorship of mass media, and the underinvestment in those dark years ,” the statement read.
“We take this stand consistent with our responsibility to ensure that academic institutions serve as safe spaces for discussion and truth-telling while reminding our fellow educational leaders how our schools and universities served as Bastions of truth during the years of the dictatorship,” the group said.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, March 1, at least 400 faculty members of the University of Santo Tomas have endorsed Robredo for president.
“Leni Robredo has consistently demonstrated exemplary servant leadership by promoting advocacies on life, freedom, justice, and solidarity in the service of the family, community, Church, and the environment. She has shown genuine compassion for the marginalized through her Angat Buhay programs and has repeatedly shown respect for the dignity of a person regardless of race, religion, age, and gender,” their statement read.
Groups from various sectors have come out to support the tandem, such as law deans and professors, priests and nuns, top Jesuits and Ateneo theologians, former Philippine Bar Association presidents, framers of the 1987 Constitution, and former government officials including retired diplomats and former military chiefs, among many others. – Rappler.com