Tulfo yields to 56k teachers in social media power-play

Fifty-six thousand teachers (and counting) petitioned against Raffy Tulfo in showing support for their embattled colleague Melita Limjuco, recently featured on the Nov 21 radio broadcast “Raffy Tulfo in Action”.

The militant coalition group of teachers with members nationwide signed an online petition in support of Limjuco after she was given the option of quitting her job in a radio broadcast.

Broadcaster Raffy Tulfo said the teacher could face criminal charges or have her license withdrawn for ordering a student to sit outside of the classroom as a disciplinary action. However, on encountering the netizen’s ire, he backtracked:

I will give this to the netizens, I will listen to them. I think it is not right for the teacher to be sacked, however, I believe that she should still be sanctioned.

It would be recalled that in an episode of Raffy Tulfo TV show last week, the mother, Rosemil Edroso, criticized the 55-year-old teacher treatment of her son.

Limjuco said she only meant to discipline the child and she had no intention to traumatize him. However, the mother felt otherwise.

The teacher has since then publicly apologized, but the student’s guardians have insisted on penalizing her.

Benjo Basas, Teachers’ Dignity Coalition Chairman, has asked teachers across the country to support Melita Limjuco because what happened to her could also happen to any of them.

The online petition supporting the teacher of Epifanio Delos Santos Elementary School in Manila has gathered over 56,000 signatures.

Department of Education response

The Department of Education (DepEd) issued a statement condemning Tulfo’s act of pressuring a teacher to quit her job for alleged maltreatment of a student.

DepEd said his actions were against education policy, attempting to deprive the teacher of her right to due process, and bypass an ongoing process.

The Department further added that there are properly established forums to discuss and resolve issues between teachers and students.

According to the department, the on-air confrontation on Tulfo’s program was a move for on-the-spot compromise since it bargained the resignation of the teacher in exchange for the non-filing of complaints against her.

DepEd finally requested cooperation to settle the issue:

We need cooperation and coordination of all stakeholders to maintain trust, respect, and dignity of all learners, teachers, and administrators of schools.

Raffy Tulfo charges back

The radio personality who previously apologized for his statement in asking the teacher to resign said that he had a lapse in judgment because he got carried away by his emotions.

Raffy Tulfo also reminded the DepEd to reevaluate the child protection policy which is the mandate for teachers to not physically, mentally, emotionally or psychologically abuse a child.

Tulfo further slammed the education department for allegedly not implementing the child protection committee clause under the child protection policy.

According to Raffy Tulfo, if the DepEd was able to implement the child protection committee rule in every school, parents and students would not have to run to him to complain against their teachers.

What the law says about child protection in schools

In the Philippines, Republic Act (R.A.) 7610, known as the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” declares the policy of the State to provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty exploitation and discrimination and other conditions, prejudicial their development; provide sanctions for their commission and carry out a program for prevention and deterrence of and crisis intervention in situations of child abuse, exploitation, and discrimination.

The State shall intervene on behalf of the child when the parent, guardian, teacher or person having care or custody of the child fails or is unable to protect the child against abuse, exploitation, and discrimination or when such acts against the child are committed by the said parent, guardian, teacher or person having care and custody of the same.

How about public shaming on social media?

Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center recently canvassed stories from technology experts and scholars about the current and future impact of the Internet and other forms of broadcast media.

Experts were concerned about the way people’s online activities can undermine truth, foment distrust, jeopardize individuals’ well-being when it comes to physical and emotional health, enable trolls to weaken democracy and community, kill privacy, and open up larger social divisions as digital divides widen and more.

These same experts and scholars are quick to remind us of the many positive sides that technology has brought us.