Message of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman on World Teachers’ Day 2023
Good afternoon to one and all.
I am truly delighted to be with you, although only virtually, on World Teachers Day to celebrate teachers and educators – the guardians of knowledge and the architects of our future.
Teachers are truly the world’s keepers of valuable knowledge and practical skills even as they are the builders who shape the world’s future as they mold young minds and shape the characters of our future leaders and trailblazers.
For this invaluable contribution to society, we owe you an immense and endless debt of gratitude.
Because you foster curiosity, encourage critical thinking, and unlock the potential within each young mind, you are the prime movers of our future. You are the pillars that hold aloft the ideals and principles that will guide your students long after they have graduated. You are the bridge that closes the gap between ignorance and knowledge, between poverty and prosperity, and between frustration and fulfillment. Your classrooms are the foundations upon which our society is built. You help build nations.
Educators will always have a special place in my heart because I proudly come from a family of teachers.
My paternal grandfather, Eduardo Lagman, Sr., retired as Schools Division Superintendent of Catanduanes. My father, Pedro Eduardo Lagman, Jr., before he became a lawyer, taught at the now Tabaco National High School, then part of the Albay High School. My father-in-law, Fiscal Abelardo Burce, was also a teacher at the now defunct Southeastern Luzon Colleges or SELCO in Tabaco.
My mother, Cecilia Castelar-Lagman, was an elementary public-school teacher in Tabaco South Central Elementary School. Pasay City and Caloocan City for almost 30 years. My mother-in-law, Cristina Almojuela-Burce, was also an elementary public-school teacher in Tabaco before it became a city for many years. Some of you were even students of these two remarkable women.
I fell in love and married a teacher. My wife, the late Ma. Cielo Burce-Lagman, who was my greatest fan and most ardent critic, taught after graduation from the University of the Philippines at the International School in Makati City; Mapua Institute of Technology; Lyceum of the Philippines; Philippine College of Criminology; Centro Escolar University; Aquinas University, now University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi; and at the St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Tabaco City.
I was also a college professor teaching political science and law subjects for several years before I concentrated on my law practice and subsequently joined politics.
My son, Dr. Marco Lagman, is now a full professor at the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture after almost 20 years of teaching in UP Diliman. Most of you may not know that Governor Grex Lagman also taught for several years under a master’s program in his alma mater, the University of the Philippines -Manila, on top of teaching political science subjects.
Two paternal aunts – Perla and Efigenia Lagman – were also teachers at the Albay Normal School, now the Bicol University College of Education. My two sisters were also teachers – Nilda, who taught political science at the National School of Business Administration; and Evita, who taught science and Filipino in Caloocan City High School.
While teaching is often called the “noblest profession”, we know that not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. It is a calling that goes beyond merely imparting information and teaching useful everyday skills. It is also about inculcating values, instilling principles, cultivating curiosity, nurturing the love for knowledge, and helping students reach their full potential.
Teaching is not just a job; it is a lifetime vocation. Teachers invest not only their time and energy into their students. Oftentimes, they also invest their precious and limited resources on students who need them most. They constantly seek to improve their teaching methods, stay updated with the latest research and educational trends, and adapt their approaches to cater to the diverse needs of their students.
Teachers often go above and beyond what is required. It is a vocation that requires remarkable patience, genuine empathy, immense passion, and sincere compassion. Teachers must create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all as they encounter students from different backgrounds, abilities, and circumstances. You are not only as educators but also role models, confidants, and sometimes even parental figures.
I continue to pursue congressional initiatives to further increase the salaries of teachers, relieve them of administrative work, and give them additional benefits.
I have also pioneered the dismantling of confidential funds of the Department of Education because schools should be temples of learning not arenas of surveillance. These confidential funds should be reallocated genuine education concerns, like to acquisition of school sites which should be adequately funded because presently, local government units and private owners are not disposed to donating lands for school buildings.
Thank you for the countless hours you invest on your students; the sleepless nights grading papers and writing tests; the extra time you give to struggling students sometimes at the expense of your own children; the additional effort you put into making sure that your teaching methods are updated and adaptable to the changing times. Thank you for transforming lives.
Albay Schools Division Superintendent Nene Merioles, thank you for giving me the opportunity to deliver this video message.
Happy World Teachers Day! May you continue to encourage, empower, and embolden the hearts and minds of those you teach.