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‘Listen to the cry of the poor,’ Education official asks Catholic schools in Mindoro

Catholic schools are known as schools that are thinking more deeply, but must also know “how to listen to the cry of the people”

An official of the Department of Education (DEPED) said Catholic schools should learn “how to listen to the cry of the people” to come up with “tangible actions” in addressing the education of children.

Dr. Nicholas Capulong, DEPED director in Mimaropa region, comprising of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan, affirmed the influence of Catholic educational institutions during the launch on March 25 of the Mindoro Association of Catholic and Indigenous Schools (MACIS) in Oriental Mindoro.

“True and meaningful silence can help us discern our purpose as Catholic mentors,” said Capulong. “We listen because we care and caring is a virtue of compassion, affection, responsibility and empathy,” he added.

He told the gathering of Catholic educators to “make your voice a music to the heart and soul of your learners, so they will never forget you.”

He said Catholic schools are known as schools that are thinking more deeply, but must also know “how to listen to the cry of the people.”

Capulong spoke during the gathering at the Divine Word College of Calapan in Oriental Mindoro that carried the theme “Pilgrims of Hope, Moving Forward in Synodality.”

He said students must always feel that teachers are willing to listen to them, to care for them without any judgment or prejudice.

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Alona Cueto, principal of the Holy Infant Academy (HIA), said what Capulong stressed was “as educators, we should act and speak like Christ.”

The province of Oriental Mindoro, which was still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, has declared at least 100 coastal villages under a state of calamity because of the recent oil spill.

MACIS was conceived on Nov. 24, 2021, during a meeting between Father Raymond Ruga of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan and Parochial Schools superintendent and Father Crispin Cordero, SVD, president of the Divine Word College of Calapan. The association has been linked to the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

On Oct. 3, 2022, Father Nestor Adalia, apostolic administrator of Calapan, officially recognized MACIS as an association with its own constitution and by-laws.

Among the schools that comprise MACIS are the Tugdaan Mangyan Center for Learning and Development, Inc. in Naujan town, the Paminhian Katutubong Paaralan ng mga Iraya in San Teodoro town, the Mangyan Educational Center in Mansalay, the Mary Help of Christians School under the Don Bosco sisters, and Saint Augustine Seminary in Calapan.

Jose Allan Arellano, CEAP executive director, expressed hope that MACIS will foster unity among Catholic and indigenous Schools of Mindoro and that teachers will better be capacitated in addressing learning loss.

Rhodora Angela Ferrer, director of the Private Education Assistance Committee, said private schools complement public schools and vice versa.

“Private and public schools must not compete. Private schools are equally relevant to public schools because we also cater to Filipino students,” she said.

She said enough subsidy should be provided public schools, especially to K-G6, to avoid closure due to lack of funds.

Congressman Arnan Panaligan said “spiritual formation is important in order to attain the integral development of the learners, and it is the very core identity of Catholic schools.”

“We must always know and remember the three core values of MACIS of Mutual Collaboration, Servant Leadership, and Genuine Solidarity,” said Father Ruga, president of MACIS.

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