Sotto frowns on DepEd memo on observance of LGBT month
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday frowned on a Department of Education (DepEd) regional memorandum order which called for the observance and celebration of “Pride Month” in schools.
“Just concerned this might cause confusion in young minds, especially (because) I heard the memo was quite encouraging because it is integrated in some of the activities of the students from kindergarten to senior high school,” Sotto said during the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2020 DepEd budget.
He said he was earlier informed of Regional Memorandum No. 82 issued by DepEd’s office in Region III “which calls for the implementation and inclusion in school calendar the observance and celebration, among others, of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month” every June.
Sotto said it was “lumped together” with celebrations such as women’s month, breastfeeding month, peace education month, children’s month, and end violence against women and human rights month.’
“These are all very good undertaking but may sumingit na ganong biglang ‘Pride Month’,” he said.
(These are all very good undertaking then suddenly ‘Pride Month’ was inserted).
“As far as I know, pride is still one of the seven deadly sins. As a matter of fact, in my book that I wrote many years ago….I’ve written it that pride is the head of satan and humility is his headache,” he added.
“So I hope that the Department of Education will try to avoid something as controversial as this,” he added.
Senator Pia Cayetano, who defended the budget of DepEd, said the department’s secretary was aware of the said memorandum order.
In response to Sotto’s query, Cayetano read out an official reply from DepEd which she said she sought in advance.
“We actually got advanced notice on your concern so we deemed it best to clear this with DepEd so we can give a response to the Senate president,” she noted.
“While we acknowledge the division of Mabalacat City issued that division memorandum, it did not require students and teachers to participate in any activity related to LGBT pride month,” she said, reading off DepEd’s response.
She said that according to DepEd, there were no penalties imposed on schools that will not comply with the order.
“There were no repercussions for schools, students or teachers who did not participate. Rest assured that the DepEd and its local offices have not required teachers and students to join any activity, demonstration or rally pertaining to Pride celebration,” she added.
“They can participate, there’s the freedom to do so but they cannot require,” she further said.
Sotto then asked if the memorandum order was still in effect.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, through Cayetano, said the memo was no longer in effect.
“She (Briones) had mentioned to me that they would want to be sure that this is clear so that there’s no confusion ,” Cayetano added. The education secretary was seated beside the senator.
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