Actor’s show draws parents’ uproar in Santiago City
SANTIAGO CITY–Parents from public and private elementary schools here has called the Department of Education to investigate what they described as alleged anomalous deals involving the film-showing project of a company owned by actor-model Carlo Maceda.
They questioned why school children were being forced by their teachers and school officials to watch a short film “Sisa”, purportedly without consultation with parents organizations.
“We demand an explanation from the school authorities why our children are being forced to watch that expensive show, especially many of us here struggle to pay for the P150-ticket,” said a father of a fourth-grader at La Sallete University Elementary Department here.
The complainants asked not to be named for fear of reprisals by school officials against their children.
“Sisa”, set to be shown to grades four to six pupils at the city coliseum here Monday, is reportedly sponsored by Maceda’s CAM Production, Inc., in partnership with the DepEd and the city government of Santiago City.
The show is reportedly an adoptation of a female character portrayed in one of the famous novels of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, Noli Me Tangere.
“That amount (P150) is too much for someone like me who earns an average of P200 a day. We just hope that this is not another one of those money-making schemes adopted by unscrupulous (DepEd) officials at the expense of poor pupils and their parents,” said the father of four, a tricycle driver.
DepEd officials said tickets for the show were also being sold to students in other grade and high schools in the province.
The parents said the proponents of the show were allegedly exploiting the pupils’ innocence by offering them the tickets, with a suggestion that the show’s contents will be the content of one of their quizzes in the classroom.
“We do not object to the showing of the film, because we also believe that this would be for our children. But when the parents’ consent is disregarded, and we see some people trying to make money out of it, then that is another story,” a mother said in the dialect.
The “Sisa” ticket, a copy of which was obtained by this writer, did not bear any marking of its exact price, raising concerns that this could be taken advantage of by teachers who would sell the tickets at a higher price for profit.
“Without the markings, any school official can easily dictate the price of the tickets, even if this would already be too expensive for the ordinary family,” another parent of a student at Santiago City National High School here, said.
Sought for comment, Roberto Paragas, acting DepEd city division superintendent, said watching the show is not mandatory for students.
“During a recent meeting, we emphasized to school heads and teachers that they must first conduct consultation with the parents and if they do not like the show, it is their choice,” he said.
The DepEd official said was not aware of complaints that the tickets were being sold at high rates, or if there was an arrangement between the school officials and the producers that the school gets a share from ticket sales.
Maceda, or any of his CAM Production agents, could not be reached for comment.
In a statement issued to the media, Santiago City Mayor Amelita Navarro said she will order an investigation on the controversy, and threatened to order the cancellation of the show should the allegations are proven to be true.
“We admit that the objective of the film-showing activity is noble, but this should be watched by the pupils on a voluntary basis, and not made compulsory. Definitely, we will not allow this to push through if will become an added burden for the parents,” she said.#