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YOUTH PROTESTS IMELDA MARCOS

by AJLPP Sunday, Sep. 07, 2008 at 12:30 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The choice of former first lady Imelda Marcos as "guest of honor" at a youth leadership conference opening in Baguio City on Sunday has raised a furor among education officials, as well as various teacher and student groups. The controversial wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be honored for her “contribution to Philippine culture and arts” at the DepEd’s annual National Leadership Training for Student Government Officers at the Teachers Camp. The four-day conference is a project of the DepEd's Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs, or CSCA.

YOUTH PROTESTS IMELD...
img_1046.jpg, image/jpeg, 2112x2816

AJLPP Update

Sept. 6, 2008

Imelda, Sam Milby honored at youth seminar, causes protest

By Jerry E. Esplanada

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- The choice of former first lady Imelda Marcos as "guest of honor" at a youth leadership conference opening in Baguio City on Sunday has raised a furor among education officials, as well as various teacher and student groups.

The controversial wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos will be honored for her “contribution to Philippine culture and arts” at the DepEd’s annual National Leadership Training for Student Government Officers at the Teachers Camp.

The four-day conference is a project of the DepEd's Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs, or CSCA.

In the same event, the department will formally designate Fil-Am actor Sam Milby as its “youth spokesperson.”

A flurry of protests from teacher and student groups, some DepEd executives, as well as top officials of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) expressed “shock and dismay” at the CSCA's choice of role model.

"It’s truly disgusting," said Antonio Tinio, head of the 15,000-strong Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

“Our schools should be teaching the youth that Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos led the most brutal and corrupt dictatorship this country has ever seen. We're outraged that DepEd will provide her with such a venue. We won't just let this pass,” Tinio added.

Education Undersecretary Vilma Labrador, NCCA chair, and NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez called the decision to invite Marcos “very insensitive to the sacrifices of the victims of martial law, including a number of public school teachers.”

Both Labrador and Alvarez consider themselves “victims of the Marcos dictatorship.”

The NCCA chairperson, who will represent Secretary Jesli A. Lapus as the conference's keynote speaker, said she “didn't know (Marcos) would be attending the same event.”

Labrador added she was “not consulted (by CSCA executive director Joey Pelaez) about this matter.”

For his part, Lapus said the decision to invite the former first lady was not cleared with him.

“I haven't seen the program,” Lapus told the Inquirer.

Asked to comment, Pelaez said, “Mrs. Marcos is known for her contribution (to) the arts.”

Pelaez claimed “it was a suggestion by some people to invite her. They told me she was invited recently by the University of the Philippines-College of Public Administration.”

Pelaez, however, did not say who made the suggestion.

Vencer Crisostomo, president of the militant League of Filipino Students, called the DepEd decision “ridiculous and an insult to the nation which was victimized by the Marcos dictatorship.”

Alvin Peters, head of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, said “with a such decision, the DepEd has apparently become ignorant and insensitive of our history.”

On the choice of "youth spokesperson," Peters pointed out that the young actor Milby "isn't even a product of the Philippine educational system.”

Sarah Katrina Maramag, deputy secretary-general of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, said “What we need are stars in quality education, not publicity stunts.”

"Why has DepEd chosen a foreigner who barely speaks Filipino to be its spokesperson? On the other hand, he’s a good choice if they want to highlight how deeply entrenched the colonial orientation is in our educational system," added Tinio.

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