DepEd USec Vilma Labrador dies

USec Vilma L. Labrador

USec Vilma L. Labrador

Dr. Vilma L. Labrador, DepEd Undersecretary, as announced by Napoleon B. Imperial, Deputy Executive Director of the Commission on Higher Education, died at about 10 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2013 (The Feast Day of the Sacred Heart). The cause of death has not as yet been announced.

A brief glimpse into Dr. Labrador’s life can be found in her own Wiki page entitled simply “Vilma L. Labrador.”

Dr. Vilma Logronio-Labrador – An Educator for Life“, a true inspirational success story which encapsulates Labrador’s life, travails and many accomplishments, was featured in the Feb. 7, 2009 issue of Asian Journal published in Los Angeles, CA.

  • April 9, 2013 @ 5:30 p.m. — Necrological services at the Loyola Memorial Chapel Commonwealth, Quezon City, attended by current and previous DepEd officials

  • April 11, 2013 — Internment at Heritage Memorial Park (Taguig) to follow 8:00 a.m. Mass at Loyola Memorial Chapel Commonwealth (Quezon City).

  • NOTE: Those who wish to send their messages, please email them to CHED Deputy Executive Director Napoleon B. Imperial at nbimperial@bayanmail.net.ph or leave them as COMMENTS to this Multilingual Philippines post

Napoleon B. Imperial, Ched E. Arzadon & Paraluman Giron--all collaborators of Dr. Vilma Labrador on DO 74.

At Loyola Memorial Chapel, QC: Napoleon B. Imperial, Ched E. Arzadon & Paraluman Giron–all collaborators with Dr. Vilma L. Labrador on DO 74.

Back in 2009, Labrador shepherded the drafting and eventual approval/signing by former Education Secretary Jesli A. Lapus of what is now the landmark DepEd Order No. 74, s.2009, otherwise known as “INSTITUTIONALIZING MOTHER TONGUE-BASED MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION (MLE)”, requiring the use of the learner’s First Language (L1) as the primary medium of instruction (MOI) from pre-school until, at least, grade three.  During such period, L1 shall be the main vehicle to teach understanding and mastery of all subject areas like Math, Science, Makabayan, and language subjects like Filipino and English. Additionally, the language of instruction (MOI) shall also be the primary language for testing in all regular school-based and system-wide examinations and in all international benchmarking and assessment exercises.

A patron of the arts and former Chairperson of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Dr. Labrador prepared a wide-ranging report entitled “Culture and the Arts for National Identity and Sustainable Development” (2007-2010).

Playwright Frank Rivera wrote the following poem which was delivered by National Artist Cecile Guidote-Alvarez at the necrological services held at the Loyola Memorial Chapel on April 9, 2013:

VLabrador1

KAY ATE VI

Naging guro kita sa laro ng buhay
Sa maraming aral ika’y naging gabay
Sa mga pagsubok, ikaw ang kasabay
Mga pananaw ko’y nagkar’on ng saysay.

Ngayong lumisan kang hindi nagpaalam
Ang ngiti sa labi’y dagli ring naparam
Ang dating maghapon, naging magdamagan
Dumilim ang sindi ng mga ilawan.

Nang magsayaw akong hindi ka kasayaw
Tunog ng musika ay naging malabnaw
Nang kumain akong hindi ka kasabay
Walang lasa lahat pati balaw-balaw.

Likot ang mundo kahit mawala ka
May awit, may sayaw, mayroong musika
At may kakainin kahit walang gana
Ngunit ang puso ko, magkakapilat na.

In his email to MTBMLE supporters and advocates, Dr. Imperial wrote:

It is with much grief and regret that I inform you of the untimely passing of the Great Midwife of Dept. Order 74 yesterday of the cause I have yet to ascertain today.

DO 74 expands and institutionalizes Mother Tongue-based Multi-lingual Education as a priority basic education policy.

Ate Vi or DepEd Undersecretary Vilma Labrador took such a big risk of a presidential ire at that time when people would not dare to move for fear, doubts or simply indifference or lack of political will.

Way back in 2008-2009, even if we already had enough of the needed rhetorics, technical papers and countless meetings and conferences, things would have remained only good intentions and bold advocacies and MTBMLE as an official policy and an initial concrete program would have remained buried in technocratese and bureaucratic mills if USec. Labrador did not agree to sit down with the 3 of us (me from NEDA, Dir. Parah Giron and TEDP/ Talaytayan advocate Ched Arzadon) in that morning of June 5, 2009 at the garden hut of MIMAROPA Regional Office. Without her moral push and promise that day to have it signed despite the odds, we would not have been energized to finalize the long sleeping draft.

With her persuasion of then reluctant Educ. Secretary Jesli A. Lapus, DO 74, to our big surprise was signed on July 16 and its publication in DepEd’s website was unexpectedly texted to me by then Ligao City Supt. (and now Regl. Dir.) Dads San Antonio in the early morning of July 18. From then on, Ate Vi would always make a point of attending the Talaytayan-inspired and led workshop to flesh out and address the initial birth pains on this path-breaking policy.

The following is a brief video retrospective of Dr. Labrador’s journey from being a teacher and through the ranks of DepEd:

7 thoughts on “DepEd USec Vilma Labrador dies

  1. We fondly remember DepEd Undersecretary Vilma Labrador’s astute shepherding of a major educational policy back in 2009 into what is now the landmark DO 74 institutionalizing the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction in the early years of school. Her passing is a tremendous loss, in unquantifiable terms, especially amidst the changes — both short-term and long-term — that DO 74 and pending legislation are poised to bring about to re-structure the entire Philippine educational landscape. We shall miss her passion for and understanding of the importance of MTBMLE. We who are left behind can honor Dr. Labrador by aggressively pursuing the trajectory of her grand vision and dreams. And, in the immortal words of the great romanticist Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as God has chosen, we “shall but love thee better after death…”

  2. O God, we had our Talaytayan meeting last December, manong, and she was there when our ragtag band of clandestine resolution writers wrote that piece in support of the K-12 Senate version. Goodspeed! Firth McEachern was there, and so was Ched Arzadon, and Atty Lino Faelnar, Nap Imperial, and possibly three others. God’s way is God’s way, indeed! Naimbag a bigatmo, manong Joe.

    Good soul, manong. Kind soul. And she never spoke a lot during that Braveheart battle we all had last December. She just watched, concerned about what she would tell Sen. Loren Legarda re our support. And so we had to worry even our comma and our diction just to hit it off with the Senatorial divinities. She was Sen. Loren’s consultant for education at that time.

  3. thanks Mr. Joe Padre for posting this: “We fondly remember DepEd Undersecretary Vilma Labrador’s astute shepherding of a major educational policy back in 2009 into what is now the landmark DO 74 institutionalizing the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction in the early years of school. Her passing is a tremendous loss, in unquantifiable terms, especially amidst the changes — both short-term and long-term — that DO 74 and pending legislation are poised to bring about to re-structure the entire Philippine educational landscape. We shall miss her passion for and understanding of the importance of MTBMLE. We who are left behind can honor Dr. Labrador by aggressively pursuing the trajectory of her grand vision and dreams. And, in the immortal words of the great romanticist Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as God has chosen, we “shall but love thee better after death…”

    https://mlephil.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/deped-usec-vilma-labrador-dies/

  4. My deepest sympathies…

    Whatever I wrote above is from the heart. It’s the least I could do for the very person that made what a lot of us could only dream of. With your Mom’s skillful leadership and gravitas, DO 74 became this huge mandate, a sea change in how we educate our young students to become smarter in the way they learn to become useful members of society.

  5. Mdm V is person with big heart. She was a kind of leader who listened to small and ordinary people. Of the many facets of leadership, none rank higher than strong character. Mdm V illustrated s strong unique through her unwavering integrity. I love you so much Mdm V. You were right, Ang puno, kung matibay ang ugat, kahit putulan pa ito ng mga sanga nang ilang beses, tutubo at yayabong pa rin.

  6. Mdm V is a person with big heart. She was that kind of leader who listened to small and ordinary people. Of the many facets of leadership, none rank higher than strong character. Mdm V illustrated a strong and unique character through her unwavering integrity. I love you so much Mdm V. You were right, Ang puno, kung matibay ang ugat, kahit putulan pa ito ng mga sanga nang ilang beses, tutubo at yayabong pa rin. Thank you so much for giving me the courage to prove myself.

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