DepEd questions timing of QC salutatorian's speech
MANILA, Philippines – After the video of salutatorian Krisel Mallari’s speech went viral, the Department of Education (DepEd) questioned whether the graduation was the right forum for the student to "express freely" her thoughts and issues against the school.
"Halimbawa, totoo. Where do you say that? Do you say that in a graduation? May issues din yun. Because some issues cannot be resolved…maybe [it was] the right issue in the wrong forum," Education Secretary Armin Luistro told Rappler on Tuesday, March 24.
(For example, the allegations are true. Where do you say that? Do you say that in a graduation? That's also an issue. Because some issues cannot be resolved…maybe [it was] the right issue in the wrong forum.)
The secretary said airing the grievances during graduation does not give the school a chance to answer back. (READ: Girl interrupted: School officials cut salutatorian's speech)
"Sa Pilipinas naman, bawa't isa may karapatan na magsalita ng kanyang saloobin, pero yung kanyang inaakusahan, may karapatan din yun na sumagot. Eh kung sa graduation speech mo, walang karapatan yung kabila na sumagot," he added.
(In the Philippines, everyone has the right to air grievances, but the other party also has the right to reply. If you talk about it in your graduation speech, the other party can't answer back.)
QC school speaks up
Mallari, who was assigned to deliver the "welcome remarks" during the graduation of Sto Niño Parochial School in Quezon City, was not able to finish her speech which hinted at her school’s lack of fairness.
"Sa pagtatapos ng school year na ito’y, isang hakbang na lang ang layo ko sa finish line, nguni't sa pagdating ko rito’y naglaho ang pulang tali na sisimbolo sana sa aking tagumpay, naglaho nga ba o sadyang kinuha?" Mallari said.
(As the school year ends, I’m only a step away from the finish line. But upon arriving here, the finish line symbolizing my success vanished. Did it really vanish or was it taken away?)
Mallari admitted the speech she delivered on stage was different from the one approved by the school.
In its official statement, the school said it is their policy to approve all speeches, and Mallari knew she would not be permitted to deliver hers if she veered away from the approved one.
The school also denied reports they did not show Mallari’s grade computation, and alleged her father wanted a copy of the grades of the valedictorian, which was against school policy.
Censorship vs setting parameters
Luistro said the central office's legal team will coordinate with DepEd-National Capital Region and the Quezon City schools division office to investigate the matter.
The inquiry will look into allegations about the school’s grade computation, and whether the school "acted within or beyond its authority" when officials cut Mallari’s speech.
The department has yet to determine also whether what happened was censorship or just a case of the school "setting parameters."
"In schools, okay naman din yun that you set parameters, pero iba naman yun – treading the line between the parameters of what you can say and how long will you speak versus censorship na ba yan, ibang matter na yan," he said.
(In schools, it's okay to set parameters, but it's different – treading the line between the parameters of what you can say and how long will you speak versus censorship, that's a different matter.)
Luistro said the investigation could take a week or two to a month. – Rappler.com