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Malabon valedictorian awarded medals with politicians' name, photo


A valedictorian from a public school in Malabon City received two "personalized" medals at his graduation last week: One from the mayor and the other from the city's congresswoman.

According to a report on GMA 7's "24 Oras" aired Monday, 12-year-old Elyzeo Abarca got a medal from Malabon City Mayor Lenlen Oreta with the mayor's name engraved on it. He also got another medal from Malabon Rep. Josephine Lacson-Noel that had her picture on it.



Mayor Oreta was not at city hall when GMA News tried to reach him for comment.

Meanwhile, Noel said in a phone interview that the medals she distributed were donated by her relatives and friends.

She said it was already too late when she found out that they included her photo on the medal. She added it is not in her nature to display her name or photos on her projects.

The school administrators also refused to comment on the issue on camera, but said that the politicians donated the medals. Other schools also received similar medals from Oreta and Noel.

The Department of Education also said that accepting these kinds of donations from public officials is okay but that politicians should avoid putting their names or photos on the medals.

"Kinikilala po natin ang mga naitutulong nga mga siguro 'yung mga natutukoy po ninyong mga pulitiko sa pagbibigay ng dekalidad na edukasyon sa ating mga anak. 'Yung issue na nandoon po 'yung kanilang mga larawan, inuunawa po namin ito ngunit maaaring puwede nating sabihin na 'yung ideal na situwasyon ay maiwasan sana ito," said DepEd ASec. Tonisito Umali.  

Despite all these, Abarca didn't mind. In the end, what is more important is that his hard work was recognized by the city's top officials.

"Masaya po kasi pinapahalagahan po niya yung paghihirap ko para maging valedictorian. Karangalan na rin po kasi mayor po 'yun at congresswoman po ang nagbigay," said the fresh graduate. — Trisha Macas/JDS, GMA News
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