Education is the right of every Filipino citizen as stated in the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution. Article 14, Section 1 of the Philippine Bill of Rights, says that the State shall protect and promote the rights of all citizens, to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education available to all.
With this law, it follows the premise that whatever race or social standing you belong to, the right to educate yourself will always be a part of your basic right as a Filipino citizen, no matter how expensive or affordable it might be. This seems to be the reason why Efren Penaflorida is on a mission to explain the advantages of acquiring quality education even to the poor and less fortunate.
With his selfless mission for the poor, Penaflorida was awarded by CNN as Hero of the Year in 2009. With this remarkable achievement by a Filipino educator, Penaflorida has proven that education is not a luxury afforded bythe rich and well-to-do but a privilege for every Filipino.
Penaflorida grew up poor in Cavite City near an open dumpsite and he would often play surrounded by garbage and swim in polluted waters around the area. He was also a victim of neighborhood bullies, many of them members of various street gangs common in the area.
He thought of getting even with these bullies who kept on tormenting him until he met Harnin “Kuya Bonn” Manalaysay. Also known as KB, Manalaysay became Penaflorida’s mentor and began teaching him there are more positive ways to get revenge on his tormentors.
In 1997 when he was just 16 years old, Penaflorida established the Dynamic Teen Ministry with the help of several high school classmates. They planned to divert student’s attention away from the street gangs
By Jose K. Lirios