Meet Harold Labutong, the Grade 2 student who was seen using his slipper as eraser. The poor student is studying at Engracio M. Castaneda Central Elementary School in Bgy. San Roque, La Paz, Tarlac. Incidentally, the barangay was once represented by former Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, the uncle of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III.
Lapus served as Congressman of 3rd District of Tarlac from 1998 to 2006, and was succeeded by his brother, Jeci Lapuz until 2013. He served as Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary during the administration of late President Corazon C. Aquino, and established the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Fund.
In 2006. then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed him as Secretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), which is now the Department of Education (DepEd.). On the other hand, PNoy was elected as Congressman of 2nd District of Tarlac from 1998 to 2007, before he won as senator, and later president.
So how is Harold Labutong related to PNoy and the former Secretary of Education? Well, we strongly believe that he is not related to them. Otherwise, he probably won’t be studying in that school. And for sure, he will have all the school supplies he needs and he won’t be using his slipper as eraser. But yes, Harold is a ‘kababayan’ of PNoy and Lapuz.
To be fair with the outgoing administration, millions of households have already benefited from 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program). This conditional cash transfer program under the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) aims to help poor families in terms of health and education, particularly to kids under 14.
But why are we still seeing poor kids like Harold? How sure are we that all the allocated funds really reach the poor, and not being stolen by corrupt officials? With President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s strong advocacy against drugs and corruption, Filipinos are expecting a safer Philippines and a better future for the children and deserving students.
Note: We don’t have any other information about Harold Labutong. So if you have extra money and would want to donate for his school needs, please visit Thinking Pinoy Facebook page where we found his photo. They are now searching on how help can reach him.