Vibrant music played by Bukidnon State University (BukSU) live band added thrill and excitement as educators, stakeholders, and government officials in yellow and white were ushered in for the Provincial K to 12 Summit at BukSU Gym last October 28.
The joint activity of the three divisions in the province of Bukidnon namely Division of Valencia City, Division of Bukidnon, and Division of Malaybalay City headed by Schools Division Superintendents Dr. Bertilla Rayos CESO V, Dr. Jesnar Dems S. Torres, and Edilberto L. Oplenaria CESO VI respectively was part of the Mindanao leg of the K-12 Caravan which aims to obtain the commitment of the different sectors in the community for the implementation of the Senior High School.
The one-day forum cum caravan started with a motorcade around the city which ended at the Bukinon State University Gymnasium where upon arrival, guests were entertained by the Brass Band led by Mr. Reynaldo Oton.
Host Division Superintendent Edilberto L. Oplenaria gave the welcome address to put participants at ease and attune their minds to the topic for discussion.
Ms. Isabel Casilang from the Division of Valencia City presented the K-12 Report Cards of the three divisions where she showed through PowerPoint what they have done, what they are still doing, and what needs to be done as regards Senior High School.
Mr. Roy Evangelista, the Regional Chief Education Supervisor of the Quality Assurance Division presented the updates and issues of the SHS implementation preparation after the messages of commitment were delivered.
A “Tayo Para sa Edukasyon” campaign video was shown which signalled the commencement of the second and final part of the program – the open forum.
Questions regarding the legal bases of SHS Program, the exits of students who were not affected by the SHS program, particular projects regarding its implementation that need the LGU’s support, and others were asked and were duly answered by the representatives from CHED, LGU, and DepEd.
Pledge of support to the SHS Program Implementation was forged by all the participants by signing the Commitment Wall.
Messages of Commitment
One of the special features of the activity was the messages of commitment delivered by chosen representatives of DepEd and its partner stakeholders:
Atty. Alberto R. Lagamon, Board Member of the Second District of Bukidnon, who represented Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri stressed that “K to 12 is indeed an attempt to improve quality education… What this country needs more than knowledge is obedience. If there is obedience, gwapo kaayo ang dagan sa atong nasod (If there is obedience, our country’s affairs will run nicely). Filipinos are magnificent people who can handle all obstacles, if we are together.”
He ended his message by saying with all conviction that the Province of Bukidnon will not only support the program but will become an ACTIVE STAKEHOLDER thereof.
Ms. Edelina Ebora, Master Teacher I of Bukidnon National High School, expressed the sentiments of her students regarding the Senior High School Program by narrating an account of how the students came to realize the benefits that come with this program. She emphasized that educators should be the first ones to press the push button for the Senior High School Implementation.
The next message was heard from Pastor Rodney Sarilla, GPTA President of Bukidnon National High School who enumerated the advantages of the SHS Program. He said that the additional two years will develop students’ values and skills and that we must commit to the K to 12 Plan to help improve our educational system. He ended his message with the quote “The Change in our Society starts with Education”.
The most applauded message however came from a humble IP student from Kalabugao National High School. His difficult life which includes living in the kiosk of the parish did not hinder him from dreaming a Big Dream not only for himself but also for his IP brothers and sisters. Eliazar Linonsac, a proud Higaonon, said that “I value my culture as I value my education.” He believes that with the K to 12 Program, youths like him will be given a chance to be more skillful and equipped so they could help their fellow IPs.
The audience was touched as he emotionally delivered this line with hope in his voice, “Grade 10 pako pero makita na nako ang kahayag sa akong kaugmaon tungod niining Senior High School” (I am still in Grade 10 but I can already see my bright future because of this Senior High School Program.)
A plea was flown for DepEd Central Office to grant him a scholarship.
Last of the series of messages came from Mr. Jorge Laya, the Academic Head of STI Valencia who told the audience about the Senior High School Program offerings of STI and why STI is the foremost partner of DepEd Valencia in the SHS implementation.
To further clarify the issues regarding the SHS implementation, an open forum was held at the last part of the program. Hon. Romeo P. Tiongco, Mayor of the Municipality of Damulog as the LGUs’ representative; Ms. Nathalie T. Igot, Supervising Education Program Specialist of CHED R10; Mr. Gil Arlowe Factura, OIC-Provincial Director of TESDA Bukidnon; Mr. Rogelio C. Evangelista, Chief Education Supervisor- Quality Assurance Division of DepEd Region 10; and Dr. Ninian A. Alcasid the Senior High School Coordinator of Deped Region 10 comprised the panel who were requested to answer the questions of the participants.
Two of the important questions asked during the open forum were:
Is there a college enrolment for incoming first year next year?
Answer from the CHED Representative: Definitely, there are no regular first year entrants for school year 2016 – 2017. Out of School Youths and students who graduated in 2013 or the years before that were given time until 2016 to enroll in a college regular program provided there is a college or university that will accept them. Private colleges and other Higher Education Institutions may accept incoming first year students if they can afford it. That is why, we encourage all OSYs and High School graduates of batch 2013 and the years before that to enroll in college right now or the second semester.
What particular project/specific program will the DepEd conduct for the K-12 which needs the LGU’s intervention for its implementation?
Answer from Mayor Tiongco: My request to the Mayors and councilors, to turn over the Special Education Fund management/authority to the School Board because they know the projects better such that they can prioritize the Senior High School allotment for 2016.
The open forum was facilitated by the SHS Coordinators of the three divisions namely: Mr. Ralph T. Quirog, Chief Education Supervisor of the Division of Malaybalay City; Ms. Amy Tortola, Education Program Supervisor of the Division of Bukidnon, and Ms. Margarita Bebanco, Education Program Supervisor of the Valencia City.