De Lima calls Bicolana teacher a true hero for saving her pupils’ lives

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has recognized the tragic heroism of Bicolana teacher Mylene Veras-Durante who died while defending her two students from a knife-wielding assailant.

De Lima, a native of Iriga City, Camarines Sur, said Durante deserves to be called a true “hero” and an “idol” that people can look up to because of the selfless choices she made in life and not because of the manner of her death.

“The words ‘hero’ and ‘idol’ have become over – and too loosely – used. Yet, what do you call a person who chose to become a teacher [who] accepted a post 44km away from her home, being away from her own two kids as she had to settle for sleeping in the principal’s office of her school because the travel time was nearly impossible to manage otherwise?

“Who, after making the daily sacrifices that an educator in her circumstances had to make, ended up sacrificing even more, that is, her very own life in order to protect two of her students from a violent attack?” the Senator wrote in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 399.

A 23-year-old mother of two, Durante was reportedly stabbed to death while shielding two students from a knife-wielding assailant who attacked them inside their school in Pio Duran town, Albay, last Oct. 9.

According to the police, the principal’s office had served as Durante’s sleeping quarters for the last two years.

For De Lima, Durante was not defeated by her death but instead succeeded in saving two children who have a chance at a bright future.

“She succeeded in shedding light to the hardships endured by teachers, especially young ones who are the most prone to being sent far away from home. She succeeded in drawing attention to what needs to be improved in order to protect and promote the welfare of our educators,” she said.

“She did not choose to die. In fact, she chose to fight. To fight for her calling. To fight for her students,” she added.

Relating it with a line from the National Anthem “ang mamatay ng dahil sa’yo,” De Lima said there are really some things that are worth fighting for – even at the expense of an individual’s life.

“That is the true test of patriotism and love for our country and fellowmen. And Mylene should be honored for living up to that vow,” she said.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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