Luistro says DepEd still for ‘God-fearing’ learners
MANILA, Philippines—Education Secretary Armin Luistro said Saturday the Department of Education has not abandoned its development of “God-loving learners” and denied having been pressured by any group to alter the department’s vision statement by dropping the adjective “God-loving.”
In a statement, Luistro said that explanations about the removal last year of the “God-loving” term from the DepEd’s vision statement had been “mistakenly” attributed to him.
“Recent media reports (not from the Inquirer) have been mistakenly attributed to me claiming, ‘the God-loving phrase was removed from the department’s vision to be fair to Filipinos who may subscribe to other beliefs and principles.’ I had not issued any statement to that effect. This attribution is completely false,” he said.
He also denied having spoken to or communicated with any group that “pressured” the department to change its statement of vision, mission, and core values. He particularly cited a February 5, 2013 open letter by the group Filipino Freethinkers to the DepEd which was posted on its Twitter account.
“I have not had the occasion to interact with any of these groups on this matter,” Luistro said.
He pointed out that as far back as 2010, discussions on the revision of the DepEd’s statement of vision, mission and core values were initiated as far back as 2010 and a series of consultations was conducted with key persons in various levels of the agency, including the regions and school divisions.
It was on September 4 last year that Luistro issued an order updating DepEd’s statement of vision, mission and core values to set the agency’s direction and to further strengthen its capacity to fulfill its constitutional mandate.
“The review of our Vision and Mission was anchored on the Filipino core values of ‘Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan and Makabansa’ as articulated in Section 40, Republic Act 8491 (Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines),” he said, citing the national motto indicated in the law, iterating that the new vision, mission and core values “should be regarded as one document to be appreciated in its entirety.”
“God-loving” or “maka-Diyos,” he pointed out, is essentially connected with “makatao (humane),” “makakalikasan (nature-loving),” and “makabansa (nationalistic).”
Luistro added that these allow values education teachers to develop modules to form persons of integrity. “It warns against pietism or ritualism and encourages persons of faith to live those convictions everyday, everywhere,” he said.
“We maintain that the formation of God-loving learners is a vision that we have not surrendered. We do not have any fundamental disagreement therefore with the position of various groups who wish to promote the love of God among our learners,” he said.
The DepEd secretary concluded, “We affirm the long-established constitutional principle of ‘benevolent neutrality’ towards religion and spirituality. We also affirm that the department will continue to promote the spirit of inclusivity and remain open to dialogue, as this is a part of learning to live together.”
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