Loren Discloses Legislative Agenda for Teachers, Education

Article excerpt

Genuine Opposition (GO) senatorial bet Loren Legarda unveiled yesterday her legislative agenda to improve the quality of education in the Philippines and promote the welfare of teachers nationwide through various economic and professional incentives.

Addressing the regional congress of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) at the Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA) auditorium in Quezon City, Legarda stressed that the first reform area in government should focus on education.

Foremost in her legislative initiatives are raising the level of educational investments in the Philippines to at least six percent of the country's gross national product, and undertaking a crash program in the next five years to ease the shortage in classrooms, textbooks, school desks and teachers.

"Educational investments by our own government are one of the lowest in the Asian region. In public schools, 40 out of 100 students that enroll in Grade 1 drop out before finishing high school. Roughly 30 percent of school kids suffer also from various stages of malnutrition," Legarda said.

"We are third from the bottom in science and math proficiency, a great tragedy in a global economy domination by information technology. Our public schools are now turning out a generation of 'under performers,'" she added.

She also clarified that contrary to the malicious text messages being sent to teachers, she did not file any bill that scraps the vacation pay or lessens the benefits of teachers as attested to by the certification issued by the Senate Bills and Index Section.

Legarda said she filed Senate Bill No. 579 during the 12th Congress to provide teachers additional pay when they are asked to work during summer or semestral breaks or when they are required to work in excess of their regular working hours. …