Can’t bring your kid to school? Go to jail!
I don’t usually involve myself in anything political, and I try as much as possible to shun myself from that dirty world, but I can’t help but react to this news bit I read last night.
Apparently, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus urged the Congress to file a bill that would penalize parents who do not send their kids to school. For him, poverty should not be an excuse for depriving children of education. He found an ally in Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez, who sponsored the bill, which states that violators (the parents) will be fined up to Php100,000 and will be imprisoned for as much as 6 years. Ok, I know it’s a child’s right to be sent to school, but when you’re living in a third-world country such as ours, and when you’re not even earning enough to buy your family food for the day, how could you? How could school be possible when you could not afford your son’s uniform or notebook or even the jeepney fare?
Representatve Rodriguez does not know that, many times, parents simply could not afford to send their children to school. Our public school system isn’t as public as it seems. I spent my high school years in a public school, and despite it being a special one, I saw how difficult it is sometimes for some students to shell out money for projects and schoolworks, and for other extracurricular expenses that are typical of any school, be it public or private. I don’t think any parent, in their right mind, would want to deprive their children of education. Sometimes education is just beyond their reach. It’s hilarious that they want to penalize the parents, send them to jail for 6 years, and fine them Php100,000, when even missing a day of not working would mean their family would not have food on the table, and the fine of Php100,000? That might be more than a year’s earning for a family living below the poverty line. Ridiculous! I suggest that the Education Secretary and Rep. Rodriguez spend even just a week living among the slums, in order for them to understand more the plight of the poor.
I could think of a thousand alternatives to their proposal, and these alternatives wouldn’t even require the parents to be apart from their famly for 6 years. Imagine how traumatic that can be for a family who depends so much on their father’s daily wage at a construction site for their rice and can of sardines? On top of my list would be a bill that requires all the congressmen who “escape” from the sessions to pay a fine of Php100,000. This fine would go straight to the education of 100 or more students for a year. Another bill that would encourage the privileged sector of our community to donate a portion of their earnings to send one deserving child (or even more) to school. Another bill to bring the schools to the homes. I am not yet a full-pledged homeschooler but I believe the poor can definitely benefit from homeschool, what with no baon, no transpo, no uniform to worry about. I can still think of many more bills that our dear congressmen can pass to uplift the education system in our country, and none of them ridiculous. *Sigh*