"If we don’t do anything now, the country will continue to suffer from a vicious cycle of irregular policies and questionable official actions."
Our sorry state of culture and sports can be traced back to 1986 when the Department of Education struck these two vital activities off the curriculum.
The agency that used to be the Department of Education Culture and Sports is now simply Department of Education.
But Buhay Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza has filed a bill in the House restoring these two subjects in the curriculum.
“These are the very reasons why the Philippines has fared poorly not only in the Olympics but also in the Asian and Southeast Asian Games which we used to dominate,” said Atienza pointing out the country is now only above newcomer Myanmar which is at the bottom of the team standings.
“It’s sad to see that the only exercise the young people of today do is with their thumbs twiddling the keyboards of their cellphones and Ipads,” noted Atienza. He also bewailed that students have lost the art of the dance and music. This is a subject close to Atienza’s heart having been a dancer in the world-renowned Bayanihan when he was a young man and before he entered politics.
Culture and sports form part of our family values and serve as a foundation of our future lives. Without these, young people are more prone to illegal drugs and consequently a life of crime, said Atienza. As a crusader for culture and sports, his House bill to restore these subjects in the curriculum will be followed up when he leads a dance rally in front of the DepEd in Pasig tomorrow to “wake up officials sleeping on the job.”
Retired National Treasurer Leonor Briones is the Secretary of Education. With all due respect, I think that in her 80s, Briones might be too old for the job. This is work that requires traveling the length and breadth of the country to have a hands-on grasp of the school system. The Department of Education has the biggest chunk of the national budget, followed by the Department of Defense. But it’s not all about money. Running a well-rounded educational system and knowing what keeps young people interested to curb the dropout rate are tasks that take some creativity.
Another issue Atienza is fighting for is the return of the Reserve Officers Training Corps. He points out that in these times of external threat to the country, the ROTC prepares our young men for its defense. Atienza has funded scholarships for poor children making them gainfully employed upon graduation.
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Another topic of national concern is the Good Conduct and Time Allowance Law that allows even the most hardened criminals to be released from jail.
This came out in Monday’s Senate inquiry. Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed during the hearing that at least eight Chinese drug lords were included in the list of the 10,000 convicts to be pardoned and released. The drug lords, according to Senator Lacson, were already turned over to the Bureau of Immigration for deportation. The question is whether these illegal drug convicts are going to be executed in China where drug trafficking is punishable by death. In all probability, no one will hear about them once they are back on their native soil.
But the worst case of these anomalous releases was the one who almost got away. Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, convicted in the murder of Allan Gomez and rape slay of Eileen Sarmenta, was included among those to be pardoned. Senators Richard Gordon and Lacson raised the probability that money might have exchanged hands since a convict like Sanchez is not qualified for GCTA. Suspicion was further stoked when records showed that current Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo was Sanchez’s former lawyer during his trial. Panelo has denied any hand in the inclusion of Sanchez in the list of those to be released.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra conceded that the GCTA law has to be reviewed and that there would be no double jeopardy in the event Sanchez is released and then rearrested.
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Our justice system and educational foundation are flawed. It’s time our legislature corrected these loopholes of their own making. Otherwise, the country will suffer from a vicious cycle of irregular policies and questionable official actions.