P-noy’s Words in Honor of our Teachers

Last October 5, the country honored the teachers in celebration of the World Teacher’s Day which was held at Limketkai, Cagayan de Oro City, which was chosen as this year’s venue to highlight the heroism of teachers during the onslaught of Sendong.

At the said event, Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro, FSC, delivered a speech in behalf our president, Benigno S. Aquino III.  Here is what the secretary read for our dear teachers.

I am honored to speak on behalf of our President today. Allow me to share with you his message on this occasion.

Every October 5, we remember the thousands of men and women worldwide who have dedicated their lives to the education, growth, and success of generations of learners. By living as exemplarsboth in moments of struggle and trial, this unique rank of heroes,ourteachers, in a variety of ways, have pushed not only the boundaries of knowledge but have also shown us the essence of humanity: empowering others to rise up against every challenge, with conviction, compassion, and creativity.

Today, as we celebrate World Teachers Day, we salute our own teachers, our personal heroes, who in spending their time with us in the classroom,and in dedicating their lives to service in an age where it is so easy to put one’s interest above others,instilled in us the most fundamental lessons of humanity: respect,kindness, and selflessness. Theychose to tread the difficult but straight path to communal development, forged by the belief that every Filipino student must be given the opportunity to improve his lot in life.

We thank the likes of Maruxa (Ma-ru-sa) Pita[1], a Spaniard who chose to help poor children read and write. She put up the Makabata Foundation, a school that provides quality education for the less fortunate of Pasig. Her philosophy is simple: open doors for the poor and defenseless, so that they too will be empowered to open doors for others.

We thank Jennifer Canete, a teacher here from Cagayan de Oro, who lost three of her four children to Sendong. She could have chosen to wallow in sorrow after laying her children to rest. Instead, she gave them the most fitting tribute anyone could offer: she immediately went back to teaching and helped her community recover from devastation.

We also thank Ms.Rosita Bayron, Principal of Bayug Elementary School, who had a terrible foot infection after the floods. Her school had been washed away. Before seeking treatment, however, Ms. Bayron organized an evacuation center for the affected families and students of Bayug. Again, she is a shining example of an educator’s resolve to put the community ahead of oneself.

Weremember Brian Lanzaderas, a teacher in Iponan National High School, also here from Cagayan. Though less affected by the disasters, Brian promptly responded to the call of duty and braved the floods to assist in cleaning his town’s school.In the end, he caught Leptospirosis and died at the young age of25. He now joins the ranks of the many heroes and angels who look down on us from heaven, and his memory lives on in the students whose lives he affected.

These are the Filipinos who have made it possible for whole communities to stand up again. They have shown us that greatness is not measured by fame or fortune–it is measured by how meaningfully you have changed the lives of those around you. In this, they are heroes who have chosen the more difficult, perhaps less financially rewarding, but always the straighter and more righteous path of community and nation building.

A nation where no one is left behind: this has always been the mission of my administration. It is the guiding principle that has informed every effort to weed out corruption in government, every step to maximizing investments in our people, every point raised in our GDP, every positive credit ratings action, every classroom, chair, book eliminated from our backlog.

Now, because of our expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, 4.57 million Filipino children need notskip school because of abject poverty. We inherited a classroom deficit of 66,800 when we came to office. Now, we are down to 40,000, and by the end of the year, we can be sure that no student will have to study under the shade of a tree. By the end of the year, we also expect to erase our deficit of 2,573,212 classroom chairs and our backlog of 61.7 million textbooks. We have also increased our budget for primary, secondary, and state-sponsored tertiary education. These are the concrete things we can do now to ensure that tomorrow, every child that wants to learn can learn; every teenager who wants to go on to higher education can and will have the opportunity to do so.

Our goal at the end of the day: to ignite a virtuous cycle, where Filipinos help other Filipinos; where private enterprises promote and uphold public welfare; where each person has a chance to direct their lives in the manner they best see fit, so that in turn they may guide their communities down the path of stability and advancement. Our teachers have shown that this can be done. And in the two years we have been in office, we have proven that with honesty, integrity, and earnestness in service, change can be achieved. We have proven: if our actions and priorities truly reflect our rhetoric; if we choose the right decisions and make the necessary sacrifices; if we uplift each other rather than cause division and strife–then, what was once impossible will not only be made possible; it will serve as the daylight that illumines the everyday lives of our people.

Thank you.


[1] Input of Ms. Pinky Abellada. Srta. Pita was a teacher of the President.

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