PASIG CITY, (PNA) — The Department of Education (DepEd) led a massive celebration of World Teachers’ Day attended by representatives from NCR and Regions 3 and 4A. Held at the PhilSports Arena (formerly ULTRA), over 7,000 teachers were entertained and paid tribute to by DepEd officials, private organizations, and members of the entertainment industry.
As early as 5:30 a.m., busloads of teachers arrived at the DepEd Complex and were entertained by marching bands and cultural performers before the start of the main event. The program began at 8 a.m.
Actress and singer Joy Viado joked “Teacher din po ako… sa [TV series] ‘Got to Believe’” but turned serious when she thanked teachers for being kids’ second parents. ABS-CBN artist Tippy dos Santos received cheers when she announced that she was majoring in pre-school education and stated “walang engineer at doctor kung walang teacher.”
Singer/activist Noel Cabangon sang his hit “Ako’y Isang Mabuting Pilipino” just as Guest of Honor Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno arrived. As Sereno took her seat with Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Cabangon sang the lyric “Tapat ang serbisyo ko sa mamamayan, di ko ibinubulsa ang pera ng bayan” bringing the house down.
David Linao, a student from Corazon Aquino Elementary School in Quezon City led the “prayer for teachers,” which was recited simultaneously at different WTD celebration venues in the Philippines.
Luistro then addressed the crowd, saying that the longest celebration for teachers is in the Philippines. Reminiscing his decision to pursue teaching, Luistro said that there was a saying that teachers did not need advocates to get to heaven, students will usher them in.
Luistro also praised the heroism of teachers, recalling an incident early in his term as secretary where teachers protected their students from a rampaging madman in a Zamboanga school.
“Ito’y isang patunay na handa ang ating kaguruang Pilipino na ibigay ang kanilang sarili, ang kanilang buhay para lamang hawakan at alagaan ang kanilang mga anak.”
At that same school Luistro also recalled a teacher who was being offered a bribe by candidates. The teacher returned the money and said “Hindi ko kayang tanggapin ‘yan dahil ako ay isang guro.”
Luistro introduced Sereno as “Punong guro ng katarungan.”
There are over 600,000 teachers in the DepEd’s roster with around 102,000 hired within the past three years. 33,194 new positions are proposed in the 2014 national budget.