DepEd NEU defends Briones against detractors; pushes for Yes for Peace to end armed conflicts

  Education Secreatry Leonor Briones. (PIA NCR file photo)

CALOOCAN CITY, May 4 (PIA) -- The Department of Education National Employees’ Union (DepEd-NEU), the largest public sector union in the country with 50,000 members, came to the defense of Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones, who is being badgered by some critics into resigning.

“Secretary Briones should not be criticized because she and her management team are doing the best that they can to deliver education to learners in public elementary and high schools nationwide given the prevailing circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Johnny Balawag, chairperson of the National Board of Trustees (NBOT) of the DepEd-NEU,

For his part, lawyer Domingo B. Alidon, President of the DepEd-NEU said there is no leader or government that was prepared for this pandemic, which "caught all of us by surprise, even the education sector was caught flat footed.”

“Be that as it may, DepEd prepared as fast as it could what is called modular or virtual/online learning.  Self-learning modules are carefully being studied by DepEd to be able to deliver learning to schoolchildren. The department has not stopped delivering basic education,” Alidon added.

“The public should not expect that the delivery of education could be perfect and smooth during this period. If that is what they are expecting, then, they are asking for the impossible,” he further said.

“We are amidst a crisis.  Every one of us must contribute. We can not expect 100 percent performance from anyone,” Alidon stressed, “Even during normal times, we were not able to attain perfection. There will always loopholes and room for errors.”

The official lamented that even before the pandemic, there were "errata in books that had to be corrected.”

“While some self-learning modules may have imperfections, these are inadvertent and are corrected as soon as spotted,” he said.

“We are free to criticize but the purpose of criticizing should be to help just like what we have been doing in waging Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan through DepEd since 1995,” he continued.

For Efren Alcera, Secretary-General of DepEd NEU, “We carefully observed developments in the comprehensive peace process and refined the consensus building questions of Yes for Peace and worked for the issuance of a DepEd Memorandum by practically all DepEd Secretaries from DECS Secretary Ricardo T. Gloria to Secretary Briones for its implementation.”

"As such, we have silently amassed the responses of 15 million Filipinos, the hard copies of which are officially in the custody of Mr. Antonio Oropesa, Chief of the Records Division of the Central Post Office,” Alcera added.

“In lieu of the former system of teachers enjoining students to answer the Yes for Peace questionnaires inside the classrooms and the parents being asked by their children to answer the questionnaires, we can perhaps include the questionnaires in the Self-Learning Modules,” Robert Macasil, Vice-President for Luzon of DepEd NEU and DepEd Representative to Regional Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF ELCAC) of Region 3 suggested, “Yes for Peace can thus reach practically all households within existing IATF protocols.”

“We shall once again request Secretary Briones to lift the suspension of the implementation of Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan (YFP-BB) forced upon her by Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Representative France Castro during the hearing on the DepEd budget in 2018,” DepEd NBOT Chairman Balawag declared, “We are certain that with the support of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), Secretary Briones will have no qualms lifting the suspension.” 

Brigadier General Gerardo M. Zamudio, host of the UP UP (Usapang Pangkapayapaan, Usapang Pangkaunlaran) Pilipinas radio and social-media program of the Philippine Air Force, for his part, said, “If Secretary Briones issues the DepEd Memorandum for the implementation of YFP BB as requested by the DepEd NEU, then the first step for the Bayanihan [pro-active involvement and collective participation] ng Bayan of the people to complete and sustain the Whole-of-Nation approach to end the armed conflicts shall have been taken.”

For his part Ernesto Angeles Alcanzare, President and CEO of Yes for Peace, Inc., expectantly said, “With the 50,000 members of DepEd NEU pitching-in by monitoring the compliance of their respective Regional Directors, Provincial and City Schools Division Superintendents, Municipal Schools District Supervisors and Principals to the DepEd Memorandum that Secretary Briones would hopefully issue, then we would have, finally, succeeded in bringing in the Filipino people into the center-stage of the comprehensive peace process.”

Meanwhile, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner and Secretary-General of YFP-BB Yusoph Mando is overjoyed, “More and more volunteers to be Regional, Provincial and City Coordinators are coming forward during this Holy Month of Ramadan."

“In about two months, we would have coordinators in all Regions, Provinces and Cities,” Mando confidently projected.  

It can be recalled that the adoption and refinement of YFP BB has been incorporated into the national action plan of the NTF ELCAC submitted by National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr. and approved by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. (PIA NCR)

Source: Philippines Information Agency (

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