Defensor: INHS sets standard of excellence
INHS Alumni Foundation president Aurora Lim
The occasion, recognition of the INHS (formerly Iloilo High School) “outsltanding alumni in the 21st century”, February 4, 2012, is a little bit hilarious.
I did not finish the rituals of being made a mere spectator to a spectacle that turned out to be simple fund raising campaign.
RAM co-founder, Commodore Rex Robles (retired). RAM or the Reform the Armed Forces Movement is a group of restive military officers who eventually stage a coup against dictator Marcos which later sparked the EDSA I people power revolt in February 1986
The INHS alumni association and INHS alumni foundation are creative and I must acknowledge that, in keeping the alumni group afloat by tapping funds from all legal sources.
Each “outstanding alumni” paid P1,000 in registration while guests shelled out for their registration half that amount.
Most also procured souvenir program for P500 apiece.
I hope the two organizations has the courage to tag the culprit for the scarcity of funds for public education — government mispriority. The Ph government since Marcos’ time accords mere crumbs for public education.
I thought the fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos was the worst for trimming down budget for public schools. His successors –to include Cory — did worse than him. Cory’s successor, Ramos, was also worse.
I thought GMA was the worst of all for outdoing her predecessors combined. Now, I realize that the current president, Cory’s son, PNoy, turned out the worst of all in turning public education into commodity for sale, not a right the government is duty bound to deliver.
Guest speaker Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor calls the public school system the “greatest equalizer” that enables children of poor families stand up against counterparts from the wealthy class.
He goes on to heap tribute to his alma matter (he is INHS batch ’57) for the quality education that he got that gave him foundation to wound his way through college at the University of the Philippines and to the college of law in the same state-run school.
Defensor is correct. He is lucky that during his time, public education is really public education. He enjoued not only free tuition but he still had stipends to boot.
Today, that’s different. Public schools are now beyond the reach of poor families. They have become enclaves for the rich and famous.
Defensor reveals that in his time, public schools were indeed for the poor “that you can’t see flashy cars transporting students”. Today, top of the line vehicles, are now parking in public schools, owned and driven by the students themselves.
Next reunions, INHS will come again to retrace their roots and renew their ties with classmates and fellow alumni. They will again be asked to donate and they will again willingly oblige to chip in to improve the INHS’s capacity to mold their young.
But that will continue like a vicious cycle. Student and teacher activists nationwide has one option to share with INHS alumni: get to the root cause of the problem — squeeze the neck of a certain PNoy to compel him to do his duty that the Constitution mandates, make education for the youth of the land, truly free and quality.
Or at the minimum, compel him to stop cutting back the budgets for education and other basic social services like health.
Radyo ng Bayan anchor Runjie Jamolo (L) and print journalist M. Diosa Labiste whose name for the fist time was printed with a dash