Expulsion of 3 students in Ilocos Norte prompts House probe

Rep. Rudy Fariñas

Rep. Rudy Fariñas

Rep. Terry Ridon

Rep. Terry Ridon

Sometimes, one wishes that members of congress were aware of the laws, especially the ones they just passed. I’m of course referring to RA 10533, otherwise known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 which was just signed into law by Pres. Aquino on May 15, 2013. I’m sure that during the deliberations on the house and senate bills which eventually became RA 10533, they became aware of DepEd Order No. 74 s. 2009 institutionalizing the use of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction from kindergarten to third grade and as auxiliary medium of instruction to Filipino and English from Grade 4 to high school because DO 74 became the basis of the Multilingual Education provisions of RA 10533.

They just seem unable to put a finger on which laws or constitutional provisions or international laws or whatever were violated when Saviour’s Christian Academy in Laoag City “advised” 3 students to transfer out of the school effective immediately (July 31, 2013) reportedly because someone ratted on the students to have been speaking Ilocano on campus in violation of an English-only policy.

Expulsion of 3 students in Ilocos Norte prompts House probe

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 08/13/2013

MANILA – Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas and the Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon have filed a resolution seeking a probe into the expulsion of three students at a Laoag school for speaking in Ilocano.

In their resolution, the lawmakers said: “the practice of discouraging the use of Filipino and other native languages among students has and continues to impress upon our children and our youth that the use of Filipino is inferior to the use of English and, as if a crime or an offense, is worthy of being imposed with expulsion and other modes of penalties.”

Last July 31, the Saviour’s Christian Academy “advised” three students – Grade 8 students Kleinee Bautista, Carl Abadilla and Samuel Respicio – to look for another school after the school’s president, Brian Shah, heard them speaking in Ilocano in the school premises.

The parents of the students and several groups cried “expulsion” even as the school claimed it was only an “advisory.”

Later, SCA lawyer Jaime Agtang said there was only a “misunderstanding” and “misapprehension” and said the school is open to the boys. “We have opened our gates to them…It’s up to them if they want to come back.”

The lawmakers noted, however, that “the SCA policy of discouraging and penalizing the use of Filipino and other native languages is degrading to the Filipino nation, and may be violating constitutional provisions relating to freedom of expression, and the Filipino language as the national language and its use as the medium of instruction in education.”

They noted Ilocano is spoken by at least seven million Filipinos, making it the third most spoken language in the country.

They also noted that the school administration may have violated the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

“The supposed offense of the students is not proportionate to the sanction imposed by the school,” they said.

As such, they also want the Department of Education to conduct a review of all student handbooks to ensure that these do not violate any student rights.

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