Laguna school takes down NYC leader’s tarp
SAN PEDRO CITY — A high school in Los Baños town in Laguna province where National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Ronald Cardema graduated took down a tarpaulin showing him with President Duterte, amid the youth leader’s controversial proposal to withdraw support for government scholars joining antigovernment protests.
Cardema graduated from Maquiling School Inc. (MSI), a nonstock and nonprofit institution inside the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) campus, in 2002.
The tarpaulin carried messages congratulating Cardema, a former head of the Duterte Youth, for his appointment to the NYC in August 2018. It showed a photo of him flanked by Duterte and former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
It was not clear who put up the tarpaulin but Em Mijares, an MSI alumnus, said it had been displayed since late last year.
It was taken down only on Thursday, the same day a group of MSI alumni wrote the school to have the tarpaulin removed.
In its letter, the group said Cardema’s proposal to strip “rebellious antigovernment scholars” of their subsidies in state universities and colleges was “offensive and dangerous.”
“This irresponsible statement proliferates an idea in contrast with [MSI’s] vision and mission, an exhibition of utter disregard for democracy and basic rights,” the letter read.
“[W]e believe that Mr. Cardema is not setting a good example among the youth,” it added.
In a telephone interview on Friday, MSI principal Mona Opaco confirmed that the school removed the tarpaulin, although it had planned to do so even before Cardema issued his controversial statement.
“We were really planning to remove it because we have a [school] program [on Friday] … and needed the space [for a another tarpaulin],” she said.
Opaco, who assumed her post only in January, said she was not aware of how the tarpaulin got there.
“This is just me, I’m not representing [MSI], but I think [Cardema] did not put much thought when he said those things. It was offensive,” Opaco said.
A native of Calamba City, Cardema, in 2006, studied biology at UPLB, where he was once a member of the activist League of Filipino Students, said former UPLB student council chair, Leo Fuentes. — MARICAR CINCO
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