The school year, voters’ registration, and the filing of certificates of candidacy
By Joel B. Belinan
The Department of Education (Dep-Ed) formally opened the school year 2021-2022 on September 13 amid the question on when face-to-face classes will finally come back. Private education institutions started much earlier with the same woes over the issue of the impact of this pandemic on the conduct of schooling. While the Dep-Ed announced on September 21 the conduct of a trial for limited face-to-face in some 100 public and private schools such would not be enough to give us the confidence that things will soon get back to normal in the education sector. That is, if the data that the government keeps on announcing would be the basis.
What is surprising is, according to the latest data, the Dep-Ed revealed that there are 28 million enrollees this year, an increase of at least 2 million from its figures last year. My two sons are among these 28 million students. Mikhail my first son is now in 11th grade and so he has to enroll in Guisad Valley National High School as their Junior High School at CMAB does not still have a senior high school. My second Son Jared stays at CMAB to start his 7th grade (Junior High School). Attending an orientation for Mikhail at the Guisad Valley gave me a glimpse of how public schools are conducting this distant-blended learning education system. This year though according to the teachers who gave us the briefing, they (Dep-Ed) have made some adjustments from how they did things last year, such that this year they offered three modalities for students. These are the printed modules, OTG-Digital, and Online system. I also gathered that a big number of enrollees from private schools were noticed. No wonder that my son’s section listed at least 63 students as of this writing and to think that in Grade 11 alone, there are 9 sections.
Voters’ registration will end on September 30 according to the Commission on Election (COMELEC) with no possibility of further extension. This, according to them, is because any further extension would affect their preparation for the 2022 May elections. To date, the latest number of registered voters reached 62 million. Of these, 5 million are new voters and this is expected to increase until Sept. 30. We can surmise that of our estimated population of 110 million, more than 60% are eligible to vote. And, yes, our beloved region has the least number of voters on a per-region basis with just over 900,000 voters from our total population of just over 1.8 million based on the latest census. And that is the reason why we always get the least funding from the national budget year after year. Sad but a reality in this country. Unless we will be able to establish an autonomous regional government we will remain as the last priority. But the way things have been developing the past 23 years (since the defeat of the 2nd OA), there is still no hope of the third organic act getting passed into law.
On October 8 or just two weeks from now, we will finally know the names of candidates vying for election next year. What we have been hearing or reading in the news are those candidates for the highest positions in the national government. This means the president, vice president, and the senators. Those who already announced their intent to run for the presidency and vice presidency are the following: For President– Senator Bong Go, Senator Panfilo Lacson, Bongbong Marcos, VP Leni Robredo, Isko Moreno, and Manny Pacquiao. For the vice presidency we have: our incumbent Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Tito Sotto, and Dr. Willie Ong. Although knowing the kind of politics in this country, things are not sure until the election. Even those that will be able to file their candidacy come Oct. 8 can still be substituted until the last day that COMELEC allows substitution which will be sometime in November this year. **