Dear Teachers: Stand tall – not for ourselves, but for others
Full text of Education Secretary Armin Luistro's message to public school teachers and personnel after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)

PEOPLE FIRST. Education Secretary Br Armin Luistro says finding people at this stage is top priority. File photo by Jee Geronimo/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty-four hours after the Department of Education (DepEd) established Task Force Yolanda, majority of division offices along the path of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan) have already been accounted for.

The next step, Education Secretary Armin Luistro said, is to “look for the lost sheep” – the teachers, the staff, and, of course, the children.

During a crisis command meeting in Cebu on Tuesday, November 12, Luistro delivered the message below to urge all DepEd personnel to put the search for people at the top of their priority:


This is a crucial time for us. It is during times like this when you are most needed. It is important that you recognize your leadership role. The leader has to stand strong. Without a leader, chaos just spontaneously erupts.

These are trying times, but you don’t have to rely on yourself alone. A good leader always creates the team, strengthens the teams. In times like this, you need leaders who are not just designated, but who are actual leaders on the ground.

For good decisions, good judgment and a big heart are a must; because when all else fails – no more records, no communication – you have to rely on your judgment, on the bigness of your heart.

Before anything else, let’s look for our people. Let’s list all affected regions, contact one person so we could get a description of what is going on. Regions contact divisions. Divisions contact schools. Schools establish contact with teachers and staff.

Let’s look for people first. Don’t worry about damages to property – we will deal with that later. The worst thing is to count buildings and fallen trees and not account for our people.

Second, let’s bring our children back to school. The best way for kids to recover is to bring them back to their routine as soon as possible – and that is to bring them to school. There is no need to conduct classes right away. Let them play. Do activities.

The Department of Education must be the spokesperson for children. Bring them back to school; then we will start accounting for them. Let’s see who are not present and who cannot be contacted: sick, missing.

In times of crisis, we account for the lost sheep. This is what the leader should do: to leave the 99 and look for the lost sheep.

Indeed, these are anxious times – people are really left to fend for themselves – but we are good at this. We filter this anxiety and bring science to it. Two anchors of DepEd: we see things in the point of view of children and we bring light into the darkness.

As educators we are the sobering element. We are the calming effect in any crisis. When everything falls, and we have nothing to rely on, we stand tall – not for ourselves, but for others. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.