The City Council will summon Palawan National School (PNS) principal Eduardo Santos and Department of Education (DepEd) city schools division superintendent Servillano Arzaga regarding the alleged compulsory film showing they imposed on students.
In his privilege speech during the regular session on Monday, Councilor Elgin Damasco said that the management of PNS imposed a compulsory order to the students to watch “Thank God, I’m Free” in major malls in Puerto Princesa City.
He said movie tickets were sold for P200 each with an additional P100 for parents.
“Mukhang may pressure sa mga estudyante at magulang kasi kung hindi manonood ay walang puntos. Kailangan nilang magbayad ng halagang P200 at P100 kung may kasamang magulang. Noong nalaman ng DepEd ay agad itong nagbigay verbal instruction na itigil ang film showing pero maliwanag na hindi sumusunod si Santos sa kautusan ng city DepEd, hindi nagpatinag ang pinuno ng paaralan at mga guro sa PNS. Nagbigay pa sila ng schedule kung kailan pwedeng manuod ang bata,” he said.
Damasco claimed that PNS had a share from the income of the sold tickets as he also presented a recorded interview with Santos.
He added that some students who do not have enough money for the film showing experienced bullying from their classmates.
“Ayon naman kay Santos, nangako daw kasi ang director ng pelikula na may share ang department ng school mula sa kikitain ng pelikula kung saan kurapsyon ng maituturing kung totoo ‘yon. Maganda din sana kung anti-bullying pero dahil sa ginawa nila may ilang estudyante na na-bully ng mga kaklase kasi walang pera para makapanood,” Damasco said.
Santos and City DepEd officials were requested to appear on the question hour before the regular session next week.
“Hinihiling natin na ipatawag sila para magpaliwanag sa usapin na ito. Para sa akin ay maling asal ang ipinakita ni Santos dahil tinuturo na okay na hindi sumunod sa nakakataas sa kanila,” Damasco added.
In an interview, Santos explained that watching the film is voluntary and not compulsory.
He also denied that the school will have a share of the income of the movie.
“It is not compulsary, walang pwersahan na manuod sila. Kung nirequire namin ay sana lahat ng student ay nakapanuod pero hindi naman. Actually, hindi namin napag-usapan ang share, kung donation hindi pwedeng hindi tanggapin at kahit tanungin sa mga teachers ay wala namang share na sinabi,” Santos said.
Committee on Education chairman city councilor Victor Oliveros said that they also received a complaint letter in line with the anti-bullying film showing.
In an earlier press statement, DepEd city schools division superintendent Servillano Arzaga said that the students cannot be obliged to watch the film and even ordered the PNS administration to “refund” the tickets paid for by the students and parents.