NAKEM, on behalf of 3 students excluded from Laoag school, responds to Shah apology

The International Committee in Support of Bautista, Abadilla, and Respicio
c/o Nakem Conferences International
2540 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822
T. 808-366-9000, nakemconferences@gmail.com
August 15, 2013 PST/August 16, 2013 PHLT 
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Rev. Brian Shah

Rev. Brian Shah

In his public apology, the Rev. Brian Shah conveys that he had already apologized to the parents of Carl Andrew A. Abadilla, Kleinee Xieriz Bautista, and Samuel G. Respicio, the three students he unjustly and unduly excluded from the Saviour’s Christian Academy (SCA) for violating its English-only policy.

While the apology may read sincere, it fell short of the more important aspect of a decent apology, i.e. the full recognition of all his misdeeds.
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Firstly, Rev. Shah totally disregarded the school manual when he imposed exclusion on the 3 students for violating SCA’s English-only school policy the penalty of which calls for a mere reprimand according to the School Manual. That is gross abuse of discretion. For excluding the three students, Rev. Shah violated Sec. 135 of DepEd Order No. 88 s. 2010 which stipulates that “No disciplinary action shall be applied upon any pupil or student except for cause…AND after due process shall have been observed” and Sec. 136c which requires that “A summary investigation shall have been conducted.” Section 137 on Summary Proceedings stipulates that “Subject to compliance with the requirements of due process and school regulations the procedure for disciplinary action against a student shall be summary in nature. The student shall be assisted in the proceedings by his/her parent(s) and/or by counsel.” We believe Rev. Shah violated certain provisions of these sections of DO. No. 88 s. 2010.
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Secondly, consider that Kleinee Bautista, one of the 3 students, recounted to Herdy La. Yumul, a reputable blogger, Ilocos Times columnist and professor at Mariano Marcos State University, that when Rev. Brian Shah confronted him (Bautista) on July 31, 2013, Shah was to have said in a raised voice: “You are not respecting my school!” Bautista then claims that Rev. Shah gestured as if he was going to smash his cell phone on the boy saying, “You want me to throw my cell phone at you, you bitch?” Whereupon, Shah advised Bautista to transfer out of Saviour’s Christian Academy effective July 31, 2013, ostensibly for violating the English-only school policy without giving the boy any other option or the benefit of due process. When the parents attempted to reach out to him, Rev. Shah refused to see them.
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Thirdly, recall that the Rev. Brian Shah posted the following on his Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/osfi.acad) on July 30, 2013, a day before advising the students to transfer to another school effective July 31, 2013, for violating SCA’s English-only policy: “Insubordination and direct defiant (sic) among students is totally unacceptable and I don’t tolerate such nonsense. Tomorrow heads will roll. It took us many years to build the school to what it is today and just a few to destroy all our hard work.” For this reason, it is our contention that Rev. Shah’s actions against Kleinee Bautista on July 31, 2013 were premeditated.
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Fourthly, Rev. Shah’s claims that the school policies of SCA, a part of which he knowingly violated, were crafted with the “best interests of our students in mind” and that their English-only policy is intended to make the students “competitive in the global village yet deeply grounded in and proud of the Motherland” are contradictory and a display of profound ignorance of the linguistic rights of students. We believe it would be in the best interest of students if their freedom of expression is fully protected, especially in schools where the medium of instruction is in English and where students’ “competitiveness in the global village”, we fear, may have been compromised at an early age.
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Fifthly, that the issue has morphed into a war against “linguistic injustice and cultural disrespect” is an attempt at dilution and diversion. Rev. Shah must be told that the Ilocos Region is an exemplar of the Department of Education’s mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTBMLE) efforts and good practices for good measure. It is supreme irony that he claims to carry out initiatives to support the poor, the oppressed and marginalized while institutionalizing marginalization and oppression right in his own backyard, on the grounds of Saviour’s Christian Academy.
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Last but not least, given our growing awareness of ethnic diversity and the importance of our indigenous languages as a result of recent DepEd directives to institutionalize the use of the mother tongue or dominant local/regional language or L1 as medium of instruction from kindergarten to grade 3 and the use of L1 as auxiliary medium of instruction to English and Filipino as the primary MOI from Grade 4 all the way through high school, the fact that parents and students are still overwhelmingly interested in the acquisition of English language skills to enable students after they graduate or drop out of school to qualify for local jobs in the public and private sectors and also to enable them to qualify competitively for jobs in the global community is comment on just how durable the English language is in the Philippines rather than a rallying point for language restrictions, such as English-only school policies. Besides, the imposition of restrictive English-only policies with penalties being dangled over the heads of students for violating them has the deleterious, sometimes irreversible effect of sowing in the students’ psyche low esteem or disrespect for their own mother tongue, low esteem for themselves, and low, if any, regard for their indigenous cultural heritage.
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Wherefore, we respectfully call on the Commission on Human Rights and other relevant agencies to investigate and determine if a criminal case is to be brought against the Rev. Brian Shah in light of the verbal abuse and intimidating gestures allegedly committed by him based on the accounts of Kleinee Bautista and for violating the linguistic rights of SCA students. In the event Rev. Shah is found culpable for violation of any provision of DepEd Order 88 s. 2010 and other pertinent laws and regulations, we hereby strongly recommend that the Rev. Brian Shah be ordered to immediately relinquish control of Saviour’s Christian School and transfer same to a more reasonable, level-headed and culturally sensitive administrator who is a firm believer in inclusive democracy and education.
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Below is Rev. Brian Shah’s Apology published in Herdy La. Yumul’s riknakem.com:

public-apology-jpg

Below is the transcript of Shah’s Apology:

With a deep sense of humility, allow me to express my sincerest apologies to everyone who has been caused pain and offense by the recent turn of events at Saviour’s Christian Academy. Personally, I have apologized to the families of the three students—Carl Andrew A. Abadilla, Kleinee Xieriz Bautista, and Samuel G. Respicio—during a dialogue held on August 8 at the office of the Department of Education-Divison of Laoag City.
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As proper authorities are now looking into this controversy, I will refrain from discussing details of the issue, except to say that the policies we craft and implement in the school are well-intentioned and have the best interests of our students in mind. Through academic excellence and Christian formation, we have, in the past 24 years, laboured hard to help the youth become responsible and productive members
of society, competitive in the global village yet deeply grounded in and proud of their Motherland.
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It saddens me immensely that this issue of campus discipline has morphed into a war against “linguistic injustice and cultural disrespect” where I am pictured as chief enemy. I came to the Philippines in 1987 and have, since then, served as pastor, friend, and family to countless Ilocanos from all walks of life. I could never thus intentionally and willfully do anything that will demean Ilocanos—they who have accepted me as one of their own. Moved by their unparalleled hospitality, I always try, in the best ways I can, to carry out initiatives supporting local communities, especially the poor, oppressed, and marginalized. As a missionary, I fully realize the importance of the vernacular in getting the message across, and so majority of our church services are conducted in Iluko. At SCA, we take pride in a vibrant multicultural environment that has attracted students coming from various ethnolinguistic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
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Again, I apologize to everyone who may have been offended by the issue even
as I reassure the public that all steps will be taken to review our school policies and our student handbook to seamlessly comply with existing government regulations and to be further sensitive to the cultural sensibilities of our people. We acknowledge this humbling experience as a learning opportunity that will allow us to serve our students in better ways.
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We welcome the rich public discourse this issue has generated, and hope that
at the end of the day all these will translate to courses of action we can collectively take in the pursuit of a truly responsive and nationalist education agenda.
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I wish everyone God’s peace and blessing.
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9 thoughts on “NAKEM, on behalf of 3 students excluded from Laoag school, responds to Shah apology

  1. Read this joke. An Ilocano went for a vacation to the Philippines after only a few years of stay in Hawaii. he tried to impress his neighbors by speaking English and seem to have forgotten his native dialect. one of his friends, sensing incorrect grammar suddenly stepped on his feet. he screamed, “Aray ko”.

    They say that there is always a reason for everything. It is alleged that the reason why one of the students uttered Iluko is because a student stole his folders. Out of his anger and disappointment, he expressed his frustrations in Iluko. He is like the person who uttered aray ko. He was not thinking of translating the words in English.

    Now, I heard that the student who started the incident was reprimanded with one month suspension. Stealing is a grave misconduct, much worse than speaking Iluko.

    This should also be explained.

  2. Are you willing to swear under oath that your version of the incident was what actually happened — that someone stole another’s folders and that the latter screamed his frustrations in Ilocano for the theft? I wonder why I stayed up all night last night and into the wee hours of the morning trying to figure out how to respond to Shah’s sense of justice or lack thereof… Seems like you have the easier answers.

  3. Read all the comments about what happened. One even named the student and the student who reported the Ilocano speaking incident to the pastor.

    I just want clarifications now. Everything is said enough on both sides. We should stop this mud slinging and below the belt attacts . The Pastor is leaving this in the hands of the proper venues. He promised to make necessary changes in the school’s rules and regulations for the satisfaction of everyone. To make more derogatory comments only make the situation more difficult. Thanks.

    • Are you sure that he will make changes for the school rules and regulations? Lets say he promised, are you sure he will satisfy the students? No because every time he promises something to us,students, it will not happen. I am anti shah. I won’t tell my name but I’m studying in saviours. Thanks.

  4. Gerry,
    I would like to add to your blog an update. On Thursday the SCA PTA for the High School met with the administration, teachers and parents. We are diligently working to correct the handbooks rules as well as other supporting procedures to ensure an event like this never happens again. I would like to also point out that in fact SCA does in fact have the mother tongue program implemented in the lower grades. DEPED has not come out with it for High School yet. Some of recommended actions include parent oversight in a new disciplinary counsel to include a PTA rep be present at such meetings and to ensure the punishment fits the offense. A key part of our plan is also to implement a cooling off period of 24-48 hours where no one will take any actions on either side including punishments or parents and individuals running to media to create chaos when calm is needed to act correctly on the matter. As to Ilocano language we still want the school to promote English but within reason. I know many are calling to replace Pastor Brian with someone else but we the parents disagree and we will keep him but we as parents will be proactive in the school environment. Pastor Brian Shah has on his own money and time traveled to many places to bring the children improvements lab facilities, music, and more. He is a great asset to the children. I strongly urge Ilocanos in Hawaii that come home to visit , come look at our school and see for yourself what Pastor Shah has done for the children here in Ilocos. You are always welcome.

  5. Virtuelle Friend
    Joe, I tried to comment diay MLEPhils re: Shah’s apology ngem dinak met kayat yos. I’ll post it here:

    I find Mr. Shah’s apology too lawyerly, arrogant and lacks (honest) humility. Never mind the word humility written in his letter.

    It is the kind of apology that comes only from an over-assuming nouveau riche who has forgotten where his money came from and wields his philanthropic works in exchange of forgiveness. It was written for technocrats not for an ordinary Ilocano like me.

    He claims he had been with the Ilocanos for 27 years already and remarked our being ‘hospitable’. I wonder if he can speak a single Ilocano word yet.

    I’d like to see him write iti pammakawan-a-surat nga awan laokna a kinalastog. And yes, in Ilocano!

  6. At joepadre
    Sir pastor Bryan shah knows how to speak iloko. He preaches in iloko too. The three students where kicked out beceasue of speaking iloko inside the campus right? Why don’t he kick his ass out too coz he speaks iloko inside the campus either.

  7. This is for Mr/ms Ultron : Sir/madam,

    I wish we could know your real identity so that we could discuss in a better way what was discussed in the meeting. I have but few questions. 1. The cooling off period of 24 to 48 hours where no one will take any actions including punishment of parents and individuals who run to media to create chaos when calm is needed to act correctly on the matter.

    Cooling off period? Habang mainit pa ang sabaw, higupin na. A lot would happen for one or two days. Sa panahong yan, puedeng mabaliktad ang mga pangyayari. The solution for this is, the pastor must always be available to act on matters relevant to his rules.

    Media blackout is a form of dictatorship.

    First, it was the act of the pastor that created chaos. Not the exposé. Remember the parents wanted to talk with Mr. Shah but he refused. Then he twitted that “heads will roll” the next day. It was your pastor who initiated the chaos. Also, what happened to the student who stole the folders of one of the expelled students? Just a month suspension while in fact he should be the one to be expelled? I join Gerry by asking kailan pa mas mabigat ang parusa sa isang nagsasalita ng Iluko, or Tagalog
    Kaysa sa parusa sa isang magnanakaw ? And both of these offenses happened simultaneously inside the campus? Maybe only at SCA.

    Yes the solution is a correcting the hand book. But the best solution is for the Pastor to change his ways, his temper. He really should adopt himself to the Ilocano way of life and respect his(Ilokano) culture and traditions.

  8. I finished high school at Divine word College of Laoag. It was then an all male private school. Ilocano and other dialects were not prohibited being spoken inside the school compound. The medium of instruction was English but we were never punished by speaking Ilocano or Tagalog. Atty. Vicente Ruaro and Congressman Rudy C. Farinas are products of that school where they were no.4 and no. 8 in the Bar Exam. I think President Marcos is a product of Ilocos Norte National High School. So, competitiveness is just an excuse to prevent students from speaking the vernacular. I’m sorry but it was the pastor’s ego that was hit . So heads rolled. Look at his words, INSUBORDINATION . It was his ego.

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