DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro also stressed the agency does not have any fundamental disagreement with groups that want to promote love of God among learners.
“We maintain that the formation of God-loving learners is a vision that we have not surrendered. We do not have any fundamental disagreement therefore with the position of various groups who wish to promote the love of God among our learners,” he said in a statement.
He also affirmed the constitutional principle of “benevolent neutrality” towards religion and spirituality.
Luistro maintained as well that the DepEd will continue to promote the spirit of inclusivity and remain open to dialogue, saying this is “a part of learning to live together.”
Earlier Friday, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas chided the DepEd for removing the formation of “functionally literate and God-fearing Filipinos” from its vision.
“A vision statement is not an empty platitude. It guides the articulation of policy. It orientates plans of action. While maka-Diyos remains one of the Department’s core-values, we maintain that the formation of God-fearing pupils and students is a vision that cannot be surrendered,” he said.
He found it unfortunate that the 2013 version of the DepEd’s vision, “there is no more mention of God, nor of the salutary fear of Him that, Scripture tells us, is the beginning of all wisdom.”
While the DepEd does not mention God in its vision, its core values still include “Maka-Diyos.”
“The Department’s VMV (vision-mission-values) is one document and should be read in its entirety to grasp the full meaning. It is a living document that is meant to reinvigorate our Agency and society as a whole. It is meant to permeate and to affect the way we behave and how we find solutions to complex issues. It is meant to be part of public discourse and personal transformation. It is not static and not intended for mere posting on walls and tables,” the DepEd said in a statement.
In the meantime, Villegas exhorted the Catholic laity in public elementary and high schools to be zealous in forming pupils and students.
On the other hand, Luistro said discussions on the revision of the DepEd’s values and vision were initiated within the department as early as 2010.
He said consultations were conducted with key persons in various levels of the organization, including the regions and school divisions.
“It is important that the DepEd’s new VMV be regarded as one document to be appreciated in its entirety. The term ‘God-loving’ is synonymous with Maka-Diyos. The term Maka-Diyos is essentially connected with Maka-tao, Makakalikasan and Makabansa and allows our Values Education teachers to develop modules that will hopefully form persons of integrity,” he said.
“It warns against pietism or ritualism and encourages persons of faith to live those convictions everyday, everywhere,” he added. — Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News