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HNHS students hold big protest rally

February 24 - March 3, 2017

HINUNANGAN - Holding banners indicating “Say no to corruption!” and “Hawa na” hundreds of Hinunangan National High School (HNHS) students and parents ignored the heat of the sun and skipped their classes last Monday morning, February 27, to stage a big rally to reportedly denounce and oust their high school’s principal, whom the rallyists accused of irregular practices and abuse of authority.

The protest rally started at the town’s municipal hall and ended at the front gates of the school.

Witnesses claim that there were hundreds of protesters who joined the rally who declared “distrust and loss of confidence” towards the head of the town’s biggest high school.

As reported, the protest was led by members of the school’s Supreme Student Group (SSG), who spoke out on several issues like the alleged absence of transparency on the school funds and the refusal to provide financial reports on fund-raising activities.

In a phone interview, the protesters claimed that their rally was also triggered by an event last February 14, when a Valentine’s Ball was planned to be held and said to be approved by the school official. But when the program was about to start, the activities they alleged were not in line with the original plan.

This caused dissent among the students, according to student council president Edgar Homedia.

According to Homedia, they passed a resolution and petition to the DepEd District Office, which was penned by 4 of the SSG Faculty and Advisers, to transfer the principal from the school.

“HNHS Student Supreme Government is hereby resolved to urge the Department of Education National and Regional Office 8 and Division of Southern Leyte to transfer the current principal of Hinunangan to other school or office that may be beneficial to her, to the students and the school as well,” the statement read.

Based on the resolution, the officers believed that the transfer, not removal from the service of the former, was more appropriate considering the circumstances.

In response to the accusations against her, the principal contradicted the claims against her and said she was blind of all the allegations.

“They are unfair, they did not give me the chance to defend my side first,” she said in an interview.

The principal admitted that she may not be a perfect administrator for the previous 6 years but she believed that she did her best with all fairness and justice. She too disclosed that she had been busy the past months because she had more responsibility, especially now that she works for the school, division and for the region.

Upon hearing the news about the protest, DepEd representatives immediately went to the school to hear both the sides of the students and the principal.

DepEd Legal Officer Reynaldo Badilla said that based on their investigation there was a misunderstanding on the management style by the present administrator.

Badilla said the issue should go through due process and that the accused cannot be immediately transferred to another school, as the protesting students demanded, just because of mere allegations against her.

The legal office also disclosed to SLT that the principal filed a request for her to transfer to another school or office for her to do her job efficiently.

News of the school dispute and the SSG’s petition has recently reached the office of DepEd Superintendent Arturo Isip, whose office might decide whether to grant the embattled official’s request to be transferred or keep her as the principal for the school. (By: DAHLIA A. ORIT)






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