CEAP 76th National Convention 2017

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Theme: Communio: Building and Sustaining Communities for Life

Date: October 23, 2017Posted by: Marionette Martinez

26-29 September 2017
SMX Lanang, Davao City
Contributed by Myra Aranas

The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), in celebration of its 76th founding anniversary in 2017, held a convention, which was graced by more than 3,000 delegates composed of educational leaders from the different Catholic member schools nationwide.

CEAP School Heads and Superintendents set off the event for the Annual General Membership Meeting and Election of Trustee/s-at-Large on 26 September 2017, one day prior to the formal opening of the activity. It was followed by a panel discussion focusing on Engaging Communities for Transformative Education, with notable panelists such as Ret. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista (Undersecretary, Office of the Executive Director on Security-Justice and Peace Cluster of the Office of the President); Dr. Jasmin N. Galace (Executive Director, Center for Peace Education of Miriam College); Atty. Maisara Dandamun-Latiph (Member, Bangsamoro Transition Commission); and Fr. Roberto C. Layson, OMI (Head, Oblates of Mary Immaculate–Inter-Religious Dialogue Ministry).

The first day of the Convention was marked by a Eucharistic Celebration presided over by the Archbishop of Davao, Most. Rev. Romulo G. Valles, D.D. The ethnic music, costume, and native dance from Davao festivals presented by selected students from different Catholic schools gave a local feel to the occasion.

The second day of the Convention consisted of various concurrent sessions classified according to sub-track topic and attended by educators from different sectors. As shared by the CEAP Executive Director, Jose Allan Arellano, during his presentation of the Convention Synthesis, the following topics were discussed in the concurrent sessions and attended by SPU Manila delegates:

Dr. Jose Jowel Canuday shared the Mindanao-Sulu Timeline: The Mindanao Peace and History Education Project. The objective of the project is to promote: (1) learning and building from previous initiatives; (2) using in actual delivery in the classroom; (3) weaving a multi strand story; (4) synthesizing the data into a tapestry for all to get an overview.

Atty. Joseph Estrada talked about the Code of Ethics for Professional Teachers: In the Context of Professional Qualified School Personnel. He said that ethics and ethical standards play an important role in a teacher’s life and profession. A teacher must not only be competent but also be a role model to his/her students. Teaching is inherently moral. There are restrictions to a teacher’s conduct and behavior which may not be asked of ordinary citizens. Teachers should avoid behavior that may tend to create a suspicion of immorality. PCSS is the brand of Catholic education in the Philippines; there is no excuse for any of us not to follow the standard.

Dr. Jasmin N. Galace and Ms. Rohaniza Usman shared their reflections on Integral Human Formation of Students in the Light of Cultural Dialogue and Conflict. They emphasized that every religion has its own ethical obligations to the young. Children are not born into an ideal world. The examples we provide to the children contribute to their understanding of the world. At the heart of learning is experience. The reality now is that we live with beauty but we also live in a society filled with conflict. We should envision a world where children will experience the strengthening of their faith.

Fr. Karel San Juan, S.J. talked on the topic of Spirituality and Servant Leadership: Leading the School as a Communion of Communities. Fr. San Juan talked about the hard realities of servant leadership as human beings experience deficiencies; people experience fear and can misuse power. The call to be inspiring leaders could start by serving with humility, courage, and magnanimity. There is need for spirituality in leadership (being formed by Jesus, the servant leader). Our hope as servant leaders lies in Jesus, our leader, teacher, and formator.

Fr. Hason H. Laguerta shared on Collaboration in Action: The School Leader and the Church Leader. Fr. Laguerta said that schools are asked to humanize education, which means putting the person at the center of education, in a framework of relationships that make up a living community, which is interdependent and bound to a common destiny. Conflicts arise because of our natural tendency to be loyal to our in-group and derogate the out-group. Once our social identity is activated and made salient, there is an almost automatic reaction to protect it in the face of threats and opposition.

Meanwhile, the concurrent session for Sub-track 3 included topics like that of Fr. John Christian Young, who discussed Transparency and Accountability in the School. Fr. Young highlighted the PCSS 14.3 – The accounting manual is regularly updated to clarify the definition and roles and responsibilities of financial personnel and to improve procedures governing financial transactions. He said that accountability is defining the roles and responsibilities of personnel. He added that savings help build up liquidity and advised that schools should meet all financial obligations on time, among others.

To add to this sub-track, Ms. Suzette Aliño shared her ideas on Creating Space and Time to Experience God in the Self, Others, and Creation. Ms. Alino shared that we must find time for that sacred time and sacred space. There should be moderation in the use of gadgets. There is much hope for the present generation regardless of where they are. Adults must device activities that allow them to connect with their God. We must remember that we are not all bodies; we also have souls.

Comm. Roque Morales and Ms. Ruth Guerrero discussed the Mindanao Muslim History: Towards a Shared Mature Understanding of Islam in the Philippines in our Schools. They insisted that we should appreciate our differences and then establish respect for each other. There must be an effort to provide a counter–narrative based upon our fundamental principles as Catholic schools. They said that it is good that Mindanao is in focus now for it is with a better Mindanao that we can build a better Philippines. They advised that everyone should study the new BBL and see how helpful it is to Mindanao.

Sub-Track 4 on Higher Education (held in the University of the Immaculate Conception) was composed of a series of talks, like that of Dr. Luis Maria Calingo, who discussed Higher Education Institutions in the Eyes of ‘Ex Corde Ecclesiae.’ Dr. Calingo emphasized the document Ex corde Ecclesiae and how it affirms not only academic freedom, but also the identity of Catholic universities as an entity “born from the heart of the Church.” As the soul of the university, the curriculum should reflect and add to the Catholic intellectual tradition; independent Catholic universities should contribute to the evangelizing work of Catholic education.

CEAP in its commitment to promote democracy, concern, and respect for human dignity, recognizes the noble and significant contributions of the lay and consecrated people to education, through the highest award that it confers, the Pro Deo et Patria Award (for God and Country). On the third day of the convention, the Pro Deo et Patria Award was conferred to Sr. Amelia G. David, ICM, who exemplifies her love for God and country and her faithfulness to Catholic teachings as part of service to God.

Finally, the National Convention emphasized the significant role of education in the recognition of Mindanao as a national issue. Educational programs that build bridges with the Muslim and Lumad sisters and brothers should be promoted and developed to heal the wounds and create a peaceful community. The Catholic educators gathered in the CEAP momentous event to renew their commitment in building and sustaining the Communities for Life.