CHR CHAIRPERSON LEILA M. DE MEETS WITH DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TOP BRASS RE: HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS
Broaches Involvement in 2010 Elections
In a major effort to boost human rights education in primary and secondary schools, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Leila De Lima met with Cabinet Secretaries and Bureau Chiefs of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Held recently at the conference room of their central office in Pasig City, the DepEd contingent was led by Undersecretary Franklin Sunga and Assistant Secretary Teresita Inciong.
Accompanied by CHR Information and Education Director Ana Elzy Ofreneo and Education Division staff, Chairperson De Lima and the DepEd officials were initially briefed by Ofreneo through a power point presentation of a short historical background of the CHR's past agreements and projects with the DepEd, then known as the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), along with other related government agencies and stakeholders. Comprehensive hard copies of the presentation and copies of the Human Rights Teaching Exemplars for elementary and high school were handed out to the latter.
Chairperson De Lima made mention of the CHR's mandate to monitor the government's and the DepEd's compliance to international human rights treaty obligations, one of which is the requisite integration of human rights teachings in the academe. One official assured the CHR Chairperson that “not only is it (human rights) integrated, it is a lesson in itself [that is being regularly taught to elementary and high school students.]”
Vital to this is the role of the DepEd in submitting a report to the United Nations (U.N.) as part of the State's responsibility to the U.N. World Programme for Human Rights Education. Chairperson De Lima volunteered the expertise of CHR in drafting the report, whereas Inciong guaranteed the DepEd's cooperation.
Chairperson De Lima also proposed that , December 10, 2008 being the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the DepEd, along with CHR and other relevant institutions, create a working committee for the conceptualization of activities and programs for the sixty-day countdown to December 10.
As a former election lawyer, De Lima also brought up the feasibility of having another countdown to another exercise: the 2010 Presidential elections. She suggests the creation of a program that aims to educate voters on the Constitutional Right of Suffrage in order to ensure fair and honest elections, as well as gain electoral maturity so as to hopefully elect the best president for the country.
On the lighter side, in an unusual display of self-deprecating humility that is seldom seen in most government officials, Chairperson De Lima candidly admitted that she “is still immersing [myself] in my work, and I am still learning the ABCs of the principles of human rights, and these are my teachers,” as she swept her hand towards Director Ofreneo and the Education staff. XXX