Davao Today

DAVAO CITY– President Aquino could be getting a failing grade for failing to stop corruption, according to educators who participated in Monday’s march-rally for the abolition of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel.

Lotus Bancale, a private school teacher, criticized Aquino’s “matuwid na daan” (straight path) campaign now that he has failed to heed the call to abolish the pork barrel.

She also chided the Aquino government for its failure to alleviate the economic conditions of teachers in private schools.

“Pila nako ka-tuig nagtudlo sa private schools, pero kining gobyerno ni Aquino wala gyud nakahatag og pagtagad sa problema sa mga magtutudlo sa private schools hilabi na sa mga isyu kabahin sa security of tenure, sweldo, social benefits ug uban pa, nga gina-enjoy sa mga public school teachers, (I have been teaching in private schools for years, but the Aquino government has never addressed our problems like security of tenure, salaries, social benefits–things which the public school teachers are already enjoying),” Bancale lamented.

Bancale was among the group of educators under the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and Davao Association of Catholic Schools (CEAP-DACS) who joined the rally.  Teachers as well as students from the Ateneo de Davao University, Holy Cross of Davao College and Assumption College of Davao displayed colorful placards and tarpaulin calling for government accountability and abolition of the PDAF.

DACS Executive Director Jimmy-Loe Dela Vega, who spoke on stage during Monday’s rally, called the Aquino’s announcement on the abolition of pork barrel as a “sham”, noting that the system has just been repackaged and renamed to another scheme but would operationally “remain the same.”

Student leader Grace Monreal supports the call to abolish the pork barrel, saying that only rich people benefitted from it and majority of poor Filipinos were still deprived of basic social services.

Samtang ang pork barrel funds muabot og bilyones, unya nawaldas ra, ang kahimtang sa edukasyon labi na sa private schools, hastang mahala sa tuition ug ubang school-related fee. (While pork barrel funds reach billions and go to waste, private schools charge us high tuition and other school-related fees),” she said.

Monreal also scored the Aquino government for allowing tuition fee hikes in private-owned colleges and universities.

“Dili man gani ma regulate sa gobyerno ang pagtaas sa tuition fees. Asa naman ang ginaingon sa balaud nga ang edukasyon us aka katungod?(The government can’t even regulate the skyrocketing tuition fees.  Didn’t the law say that education is a right?) asked Monreal.

Meanwhile, DACS’ Dela Vega encouraged school administrators, teachers and students to continue the campaign to press the Aquino government for greater transparency and accountability.(Mart D. Sambalud/

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