Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday called out Education Secretary Leonor Briones for pleasing only President Rodrigo Duterte but not the students and teachers.
In her radio program, Robredo made the statement as a reaction to Briones' earlier statement that the vice president’s Community Learning Hubs (CLHs) are not Department of Education (DepEd)-sanctioned program.
“Dapat yung boss ni Secretary Briones ay 'yung mga bata na kailangan matuto, ‘yung mga teacher na kailangan ng tulong, hindi si Presidente,” she said.
Robredo also took a dig on Briones' seeming "blind obedience" to her boss.
“Totoo [nga] na si Presidente ‘yung nag-appoint sa kanya. Pero sana naman ipagtanggol niya ‘yung mga bata na nangangailangan ng tulong. Hindi naman dito puwede ‘yung blind obedience,” Robredeo said.
Likewise, Robredo branded as irresponsible Briones’ remarks on CLHs' being non-DepEd sanctioned as it can bring fear and worry among the partners, donors, teachers, and local officials who expressed support for the project.
"Pero dahil sa statement nila, siyempre kahit ako naman teacher, kahit ako principal, kahit ako DepEd official na lokal, kahit alam kong mabuti iyong programa, mag-aalala ako na baka pag-initan ako o baka ma-sanction ako kasi nagsabi si Secretary Briones na ayaw nila iyan," she said.
Robredo pointed out that education should be insulated from politics.
“Hindi dito puwede ‘yung ginagawa mo, ipi-please mo ‘yung mga nakakataas sayo at the expense ng mga estudyante na natulungan,” she added.
Earlier, the DepEd distanced itself from the Robredo’s project, which provides support for students amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of free access to computers, internet, and tutors.
Briones the controversial remark in a recent Palace briefing when she was asked by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. who claimed that Robredo announced that she has a project with DepEd which allows face-to-face classes.
“Last August, nag-request ang OVP na sina-suggest nila iyang project na ‘yan, sinagot namin, humingi kami ng details. Ang polisiya namin, dahil sinusunod natin ang utos ng Presidente, hindi natin iyan ina-allow,” Briones said in a Palace briefing.
Briones referred to President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to put on hold resumption of face-to-face classes pending availability of a vaccine against COVID-19.
But, Robredo had denied that the CLHs allow face-to-face classes.
A statement from the Office of the Vice President issued last October 20 stated that the project is an initiative of the OVP, local government units (LGUs), and the private sector and not DepEd's.
“Sobrang conflicted ako sa pag-comment dito kasi ayokong madamay 'yung mga partner, 'yung mga kausap naming LGU officials, DepEd officials,” Robredo said.
According to Robredo, her office has been coordinating with the DepEd since July.
“August 'yung date ng exchange namin. Magde-December na. Pero yung coordination namin July pa nag-umpisa,” she said.
“Ayoko nang ibigay yung detalye. Ayoko nanag ibigay kung sino ‘yung mga kausap namin kasi ayokong mapasama,” she added.
According Robredo, around 2,000 students are already benefitting from 12 Community Learning Hubs.
“Kung sabihin nilang huminto kami, wala kaming magagawa, hihinto kami. Pero kargo nila iyan,” she added. —LBG, GMA News