Last June 27, Teacher and Photojournalist Jimmy Domingo posted about Harold Labutong, a public school student who instead of an actual eraser, uses his slipper to erase his writing mistakes.
Domingo posted a picture taken by Rosalie Dela Cruz, Labutong’s teacher at the Engracio M. Castaneda Central Elementary School at La Paz, Tarlac. In the picture, we can see the grade 2 student writing something down, one of a pair of his well-worn slippers also laid on the desk in front of him.
The post garnered mixed reactions from netizens. While some admired the boy for his resourcefulness, others lamented about the sorry state of public school education.
“ang sakit naman sa puso makakita ng ganyan pero nakakabilib (It really pains the heart when we see things like these, but the boy is truly admirable),” said Facebook user Cloie Ann Reyes.
“Maparaang bata (What a resourceful child)!” exclaimed Beau Baconguis. “Ganyan ang nagagawa ng ating mga limitasyon (This is what we can achieve despite our limits).”
“henerasyon pa yata namin, ginagawa na yan..hanggang ngayon meron parin…marami parin ang nasa laylayan ng pinakalaylayan. hindi man lang naiangat (Those of our generation used to do that, and even up to the present, it is still being done. There are still a lot who live in the fringes of society, whose standard of living still have not been uplifted),” replied Chris Valdez.
Domingo disclosed that the picture, which is now going viral, is a product of a photojournalism training camp he conducted last May for school paper advisers. He instructed the teachers to “look for small stories with impact.” Dela Cruz chose a good subject in her student Labutong, it seems. Domingo has also been receiving PMs (private messages) on Facebook from people who are reaching out, wanting to send help to Labutong.