EDITORIAL | Teacher Mhai: Modern-day Bicolana heroine

This weekend, the body of 23-year-old slain DepEd Albay teacher Maylene Durante was laid to rest.

Her death last week struck a chord in the hearts of many, especially since Teacher Mhai, as she was fondly called by her pupils and loved ones, was the picture of a model educator.

An undoubtedly contemporary heroine, Teacher Mhai would often recount her countless sacrifices only to realize her dream of helping the Filipino youth in a far-flung elementary school in the town of Pioduran, Albay, even though it meant living far from her husband and kids who were in Polangui town.

Apart from the long and perilous travel on unpaved pathways to the site of Oringon Elementary School, Teacher Mhai had to make do with a dilapidated classroom and school facilities.

But instead of complaining as many in her distressing situation are wont to do, she would find joy in making the most of what she had.

Pictures on her Facebook account, for instance, showed that her classroom, which had soil for its flooring, was decorated by Teacher Mhai with pink chairs and pink curtains, if only to make it more comfortable and conducive for learning for her beloved pupils.

Those who were under her care and tutelage also attested to her extraordinary diligence in teaching, which brightened the atmosphere in her classes.

Meantime, her friends and relatives recalled her perpetually jolly disposition and helpful ways.

And if these were not enough, police investigators said that in the last moments of her life, Teacher Mhai could have sacrificed her own safety for the welfare of the two pupils who were accompanying her in her sleeping quarters.

Indeed, there are no words to express how much of a shame it is that the world had to lose Teacher Mhai, especially in a senseless killing allegedly perpetrated by someone whom she personally knew.

As it is, the world has too few people who are willing to dedicate their hearts and souls to not only enduring the hardships that teachers have to deal with, but also to seeing the bright side in the dire circumstances.

We thus salute and thank Teacher Mhai—a modern-day Bicolana heroine who deserves to not only get recognition for her actions, but also to find genuine justice.

Further, we hope her death will not be swiftly forgotten, but inspire change in education policies, and even bring to the fore a review of the juvenile justice system.