THE 11th National Congress of the 24,847 strong Department of Education National Employees’ Union (DepEd NEU) – the biggest public sector union in the Philippines — threw in its full support to our Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan.
Johnny G. Balawag, Chairman of the DepEd NEU underscored the importance of the DepEd NEU in running the affairs of the education department, “We, the non-teaching personnel of DepEd is the partner of management in raising and nurturing an empowered education workforce for national development.”
In his state of the union address, lawyer Domingo B. Alidon urged the 2,689 officers and members of the DepEd NEU who came on Official Business from Regional Offices, Schools Divisions (Provincial and City), Schools Districts (Municipal) and Public Elementary and High Schools nationwide to attend the ongoing congress and seminar-workshop at the Baguio Teachers’ Camp to follow through compliance to Department Memorandum No. 66, s. 2017 through their respective Regional Directors, Schools Division Superintendents, Schools District Supervisors, Principals, and Teacher-in-Charge.
In jest, Alidon urged his colleagues, “Kung ayaw makiisa sa Yes for Peace ng mga bossing ninyo, magsumbong kayo sa mga pulis o sundalo sa lugar ninyo.”
“Kasama na rin po natin sa Yes for Peace and Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police,” Alidon declared, “Kinikilala na tayo hindi lamang sa DepEd kundi ng iba pang mga ahensiya ng gobyerno.”
The resolution, “Resolution Affirming and Reiterating the Support of the Department of Education National Employees’ Union to the YES FOR PEACE – Bayanihan ng Bayan” was adopted a day after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, invoking RA 10168 declared the New People’s Army as a terrorist group directed Justice Secretary Vitaliano to file formal charges.
As part of the process to get the resolution adopted, the Congress and seminar-workshop participants were asked to each answer a Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan questionnaire.
According to a summary prepared by Jun Serrano of the DepEd NEU Secretariat, the participants to the Congress and seminar-workshop overwhelmingly answered YES to the three questions asked by the campaign to bring the Filipino people into the center-stage of the national comprehensive peace process.
According to Serrano, 94.7% answered YES, 2.2% answered NO and 3.1% abstained to the question, “Sang-ayon po ba kayo na permanente nang itigil ang labanan sa pagitan ng gobyerno at ng mga armadong rebolusyonaryo para mailaan na ang bilyon-bilyong pisong pondo na nauubos sa giyera ng mga Filipino laban sa kapwa Filipino para magamit ito sa edukasyon, kalusugan, pabahay, pagsugpo ng kahirapan, pagpapalakas ng kababaihan, pagpapa-unlad ng kanayunan at iba pang mga makabuluhang serbisyo publiko para sa Sambayanang Filipino?”
A few weeks earlier, the representative of the Gabriela party-list criticized Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan and demanded that the support is given to it by the Department of Education during its budget deliberations of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.
Gabriela and most probably, the whole self-styled Makabayan bloc who believe that they are the only nationalists in the lower house argues, “The questions are leading.”
From my point of view, they are saying that even their compatriots waging war against the government would answer YES to our questions.
What is wrong with that? We are trying to document a national consensus for peace. It would be folly to pose questions that are divisive.
I am glad that Congressman Karlo Nograles, Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations posted in his Facebook account, “Sikapin nating tuparin ang pangarap natin para sa ating bayan pamilya, at sarili nang sama-sama. Ang sabay na pag-unlad ng bawat Pilipino – taga siyudad man o probinsiyano – ay simbolo ng isang progresibong Pilipinas.”
Personally, I feel that we share the same vision of a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Philippines and agree on the means on how to attain this – Bayanihan or the pro-active involvement and collective participation of the Filipino people.
I hope that Congressman Nograles will soon join us in our campaign inasmuch as he cut-short what could have been a long debate on the pros and cons of the armed struggle and the people’s right to take up arms against the government which was about to be started by the Gabriela party-list representative during the deliberations on the DepEd budget.