TAGUM CITY—Religious groups slammed the Department of Education after it removed the phrase “God-loving” in its 2013 vision statement.
No less than the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday issued a statement as it lamented and described the situation as “unfortunate.”
In its 2013 version, “there is no more mention of God, nor of the salutary fear of Him that, Scripture tells us, is the beginning of all wisdom,” CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said in a statement.
Villegas maintained that the “formation of God-fearing pupils and students is a vision that cannot be surrendered”.
“A vision statement is not an empty platitude. It guides the articulation of policy. It orients plans of action,” Villegas lamented.
Archbishop Villegas stressed that the right of a child to recognize and love God “are not harmful to anyone else, believer or not as our pluralistic society accords respect for the option of some to believe and for others not to.”
Filipinos for Life, a Manila-based Christian Lay group also criticized the Department of Education for “acceding without discerning” after it removed the “God-fearing” phrase in DepEd’s vision statement reportedly upon the request of atheist group in the Philippines—the Filipino Freethinkers.
“Believing in God does not hurt nor disturb anyone. DepEd should have realized the impact it will give to a nation that is known to be religious and firm in faith,” said Dr. Ricardo Boncan, spokesman for Filipinos for Life.
Boncan said that even the 1987 Constitution “invokes the aid of God” as stated in its preamble. “When did the belief in God prove harmful to man?” he asked.
Public school teacher Janice Corsiho, 35, said “it is very alarming. Slowly, DepEd is becoming an instrument of non-believers already.”
Another teacher Harry Talapiero, 27, said “DepEd chose the wisdom of this world and listened to the godless society. Our education department is governed by fools because fools don’t believe in God.”
On Friday, the DepEd in a statement, said its “new VMV should be regarded as one document to be appreciated in its entirety.”
This as DepEd admitted that it removed the phrase “God-fearing” but its core values still retains the word “Maka-Diyos.”
“The term God-loving is synonymous with Maka-Diyos. The term Maka-Diyos is essentially connected with Maka-tao, Makakalikasan and Makabansa and allows our Values Education teachers to develop modules that will hopefully form persons of integrity. It warns against pietism or ritualism and encourages persons of faith to live those convictions everyday, everywhere,” the DepEd said.
DepEd explained that the removal of the word “God-loving” was a result of discussion revising DepEd Vision, Mission, Values as early as 2010.
“A series of consultations was conducted with key persons in various levels of the organization, including the regions and school divisions,” DepEd said.
DepEd added that the DepEd Order No. 36 s. 2013 was issued “in order to update the Agency’s directions and further strengthen our capacity to fulfill our 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.” (Mart D. Sambalud/davaotoday.com)