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'Keep pols out of graduation rites'

Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte has asked the Department of Education to discourage schools from inviting politicians to any graduation rites.

To avoid turning graduation rites into political events, public school officials must not invite or allow candidates to speak in any commencement or moving-up ceremonies, especially in the months or weeks leading to the May 2019 mid-term elections, Belmonte said.

With the upcoming election season, those running for public office would naturally compete for a chance to appear and speak in public events, such as schools’ graduation ceremonies, she added.

“Perhaps our local division [schools division office of Quezon City] can consider this to maintain order and fairness in 2019 graduation ceremonies,” she said.

“I have suggested this to our division superintendent several times [that] those who are running for public office are not allowed to speak to avoid politicking. They can only attend and be recognized,” Belmonte stressed.

According to the vice mayor, DepEd regional directors who joined her in the weeklong learning and partnership visit on education governance, sponsored by the Australian Agency for International Development, raised the issue with her.

Last April, Education Secretary Leonor Briones reminded school officials to avoid making the graduation and moving-up ceremonies as a political forum. 

Meanwhile, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has signed an ordinance establishing the Nick M. Joaquin Senior High School, located within the campus of Toro Hills Elementary School in Barangay Bahay Toro.

City Ordinance 2663-2018, introduced by Councilor Julienne Alyson Rae V. Medalla, aims to provide senior high school students more facilities suitable for their chosen tracks in academic and technical-vocational livelihood.

Nick M. Joaquin Senior High School will initially offer the following courses: 

a. Academic tracks: accountancy, business and management strand, humanities and social sciences strand, and general academic strand; and

b. Technical-vocational livelihood tracks: animation/technical drafting strands.

City Council Resolution No. 3, Series of 2017 has earlier mandated that the new senior high school shall be named after the late National Artist for Literature Nick M. Joaquin in recognition of his significant contribution to Philippine literature and journalism.

Joaquin was a Filipino journalist, novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, and biographer who received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts in 1996.

The Special Education Funds of Quezon City will be the source of the supplemental budget necessary for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the Senior High School as determined by the Local School Board.

The Bautista administration continues to comply with its mandate to provide basic social services and facilities, including the establishment of school buildings under Section 17 of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

Topics: Quezon City , Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte , Department of Education , politicians , graduation rites
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