De Lima hails Bicolana teacher who dies while saving her students a ‘true hero’

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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 44 kilometers 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?”said de Lima.

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.

“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.