NAGA CITY—Alumni of the Naga City Science High School (NCSHS) have given a resounding “no” to the resolution renaming their alma mater to Jesse M. Robredo Science High School.
|NCSHS photo via NCSHS Facebook page|
Resolution No. 3, s. 2015 was recommended by the Naga City School Board through Administrator Ernani Suron to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) ng Naga.
According to the SP, “The proponents wish to honor the late Interior and former Naga City Mayor Jesse M. Robredo by renaming the Naga City Science High School after him, as he is the founder of the said school in 1994. He negotiated the establishment of the same with the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports (now Department of Education).”
Alumni association VP rejects re-branding
Several alumni, however, are unconvinced that re-branding the school is a wise move.
Among them is Jonathan Briones, Vice President of the Naga City Science High School Alumni Association.
Briones in a statement said: “We acknowledge the move to honor the late Jesse Robredo, a great man known for his leadership and ideals. We owe the existence of the school to him. However, we believe that a public, basic educational institution must be depoliticized.”
“His name, with all due respect to the man, is loaded with political semantics, including a leaning towards certain liberal ideologies. Even if it's not the intention, it still sounds like a political accommodation.
The foundation of the school was built on the principle of helping to raise brilliant young minds to become the best, most especially in the fields of science, math and English. Many of us fought well and hard to meet the standard that was set before us, so that all of our achievements will reflect well as achievements of the city.
Naga City Science High School was molded to be at par with the best science high schools nationwide. Jesse Robredo knew that very well. He may have started this school but it was not to glorify himself but bring honor to the city. Changing the name of the school would not really commemorate him, but rather this move would defeat the very principle of why this institution was built - of why he help built this school. This school is not his legacy alone. It is also ours. It is the students. It is the teachers. He may have started it, but it is the teachers and the students that brought life, recognition and commendation to the school, the community, and city. It would be a waste to just throw these things away just so we can help remember a man, no matter how noble he is. We believe that the best way to honor him is to continue the dream that he has started and that we, the alumni, must continue to uphold,” he posted.
“[M]any of us will feel a loss of identity once the name of our Alma mater has changed. In light of all that is mentioned, we appeal to all of our city officials not to support the proposed changed in the name of Naga City Science High School,” the post concluded.
City Youth Councilors hit proposal
Apart from Briones, that City Youth Councilors who are alumni of said school likewise objected to the renaming, the SP Facebook page announced.
On Tuesday, said resolution was referred back to the SP Committee on Tourism and Arts/Culture, chaired by Councilor Elmer S. Baldemor, for a committee hearing.
Netizens slam move
The opposition is echoed on social media and on the newly-launched SP website, where alumni and other concerned Nagueños have taken to voice their opinions.
“Big No!!!! #Not in favor!!! #Wag maging epal!!!” one commenter posted.
“It's too much,” another said.
Meantime, on the SP website, the city council has opened a poll asking Naguenos whether they were in favor of the change or not.
As of the time of posting, 96.4% have voted “no” to the renaming.
“The name Jesse M. Robredo remains to inspire the old as well as the young blood to dare to do things for the sake of true and dedicated public service. Without naming buildings and schools after it, Jesse M. Robredo will always be a highly respected name. It's just so sad that some of us, who I think, cannot measure up to the performance of the late Secretary, try so hard to be in the limelight by making controversial moves which only brings unnecessary disputes that can also stain the name JMR. The Naga City Science Highschool was well loved by the late Secretary and its students and alumni loved him back. It has its own very impressive culture of high performance tempered by the peaceful resolve of the students and teachers. Do not bring chaos to this institution. Do not change the name of the school,” a commenter opined.
“An Nai-mukna na, DAI nanggad Ribayan pa. Gibo na sana kamo nin iba, tsaka nindo ipangaran ki JMR. (Gabos na sana man saindo ribay),” posted another.
“Naga City Science high school was founded to give honor to the city which bear its name and i know that even the late secretary doesn't want it to happen. They named it "NAGA CITY" science high school for a reason,” one commenter wrote.
Two other buildings already named after Robredo
Presently, two buildings in the city bear the name of the deceased former Naga City mayor and Secretary of Interior and Local Government.
These include the Jesse M. Robredo Coliseum on Ninoy and Cory Ave., and the Jesse M. Robredo Museum, which is undergoing construction within the Naga City Civic Center.
Similar controversy in Sorsogon
The move to rename NCSHS recalls a recent controversy in Sorsogon in March.
In said province, alumni of the Sorsogon National High School (SNHS) objected to renaming it in honor of the deceased lawmaker Salvador H. Escudero III.
The opposition gained such strong support that it caught the attention of Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
A grandson of the late Escudero, the senator thanked the proponents of the renaming, but appealed to them to junk the move.
Senate Bill 2707
Shortly after the SNHS controversy made the news, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed Senate Bill 2707.
The bill prohibits the naming of “local government units, institutions, places, or buildings” “after a living person, nor any relative by affinity or consanguinity within the fourth civil degree, whether living or dead, of any government official or employee.”
Sen. Santiago explained in the same bill: “This practice is deplorably self-serving. Not only does it underhandedly increase their own prestige within their locality, it also has the insidious effect of perpetuating their political dynastic line by forcing street goers to repeatedly utter their family name.”—BICOLSTANDARD.COM. Pirming enot. Pirming bago.