Department of Education (DepEd – XI) spokesperson Jenielito “Dodong” Atillo urged public schools not to invite candidates running in the midterm elections as guest speakers in their recognition rites and graduation ceremonies as they may only use the venue to promote their candidacies.
Dodong, who started as radio reporter of UMBN Radyo Ukay program (TIMES’ affiliate media outlet), is now the most sought after key education spokesperson in the region. I am happy for him.
I personally knew Dodong as we both started from nothing – he in the broadcast and I in print media. Although we came and trained under one management, we sometime differ in some ways of public concern, which is only but natural in the media circle.
“My personal advice is really for schools, especially principals because they are the ones identifying who will speak in graduation or recognition exercise, to do away with inviting politicians, specifically candidates,” Atillo said.
He also advised schools against accepting medals, trophies, and ribbons from politicians as this constitutes acts of electioneering and partisan politics punishable by law.
Since election fever now pollutes the air – when money flows in the guise of feeding those with hungry stomach but actually only after their votes, I think inviting a politician in a school affair may not be considered as an election offense, provided the VIP will be enlightened beforehand of the dos and don’ts of the theme of the school activity – say, no campaign materials and stick to the theme of the program.
All of my four children who graduated in college solicited advertisements for schools’ souvenir programs from some politicians then.
The names of politicians appear as minor or major sponsors in the graduation program but no one questioned these as DepEd may not be around or plainly ignored the practice during graduation exercises.
And how will my friend Dodong stop a politician to be the guest speaker if the latter happens to be the owner of the school or a big-time benefactor of said institution of learning? Maraming ganyan sa Pilipinas.
Anyway, with due respect to my friend Dodong, since my youngest son Jin Lorenz is graduating from senior high school in Ateneo on April 1, with academic honors and other recognition awards, I can assure him that all the medals my son will receive on graduation day will not come from politicians but expenses coming from my own pocket.
I am almost half-way writing my book that covers the first day I was born in Pasay City to poor parents when Japanese invaders were devastating Manila.
I thought of writing the book from my humble beginnings when I celebrated my diamond year in 2016 where Boss Willie who was then my special guest suggested that I should write one while he will shoulder the cost of the publication.
Since then, I started reminiscing the old days of my ala Cinderella life, a life full of challenges and more hardships until I reached this status in life when only a few may dare to endure, but in the long run maybe achieved if one has only the patience, discipline to himself and consistency to what he is doing.
Actually, a brief history of my life beginning when I came to Davao and joined this paper was already a public knowledge as I wrote it in the supplement page of the TIMES during that 75-year milestone and in the succeeding issues of my column in a hold-no-barred reporting. That’s why I am thinking of not finishing the book as my readers had already informed of what the book is all about.
At my age now I should have devoted my remaining years to more meaningful activity as bonus age is seldom given by the Almighty to His people.
And besides, I am now again to start a new chapter in my life much different from where I was and I am now after Uncle Sam finally given me the go signal to enjoy American dreams many are wishing for in life.
My readers need not to worry. I will continue writing after TIMES sales manager Jingo Camomot renewed my ID as columnist and retained the commissions and honorarium for the job, while managing editor Carmelito “CQ” Francisco assured me that I will remain a part of the opinion page sending articles through electronic mail from USA.
For how long I will stay abroad in the new house of my daughter and boyfriend in a suburb of Chicago will depend on how I will adjust myself to the new environment.
But since the place is surrounded with lakes where fishing is a pastime for many residents, for sure I will enjoy my new world. The word fishing alone was the “bait” why my daughter was able to convince me to bite her offer to live with her in the US. It’s showtime!