Press Release
January 28, 2010


"It is obvious that the coming decade calls for a coming together of first-class minds in education and training sector to craft a green education system.", Senator Loren Legarda reacts to the call of educators for an "Education President". "Whoever that president would be should incorporate as an important element sustainable development in his education agenda. It should be one of the key defining elements of education for the next decade."

Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Oversight Committee on Climate Change and the Committee on Agriculture said that she set in place key measures in the current Congress that would ensure the arrest of the decline in enrollees in agriculture, fisheries and forestry, a major threat to the productivity and food security goals of the sector. "In the Agriculture Committee, we worked it out that the Department of Agriculture will shepherd the education of scholars in agriculture and agriculture-related courses until they have graduated.", Loren said. The lady senator who is running for vice president on a green campaign further said state universities and colleges (SUCs) where these scholars are should inspire and guide them so that they will commit to serve in the country and not leave to serve big agriculture corporations abroad. To ensure that they will repay the taxpayers for their free education, they are made to commit to adopt a farm, a fishfarm or a forest mountain that they will each assist while they are studying as part of their curricular requirements. They are to work with municipal agricultural officers in helping farmers and fisherfolk develop and execute their production plans. "And so even while they are in school they are already paying back the public for their free education."

"Our farmers and fisherfolk are aging and the young graduates in agriculture are leaving. So who would be left to till the farms and feed us? We need farmers and fisherfolk who would use new knowledge from research in farming and fishing to modernize agriculture. We need entrepreneurial skills in the sector. Farm families should have multiple farm and non-farm skills in the households so that when typhoons and other natural calamities ravage the farms, they would have other sources of income.", Loren addresses the education sector.

"Furthermore, we have to promote the need for cooperative education, not just study cooperativism in school but for our children to learn to do schoolwork as a team. We have to make them see that competitiveness could be advanced by working as a group. This kind of education is the foundation of cooperativism which we need to help our farmers know how to produce with economies of scale. They have to cooperate with their co-farmers by pooling their small landholdings to achieve economies of scale. I therefore call strongly for a strong foundation in cooperative education--it should start in basic education both through the improvement of its quality and content and its delivery system.", Loren said.

As for the mode of delivery of education, Loren said that as chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFM), she strongly supported the proposal of the Department of Education for mobile teachers because she really believed "the Department should reach children and adults in the mountains doing agro-forestry, children of farmers and fisherfolk who need to help their parents in the farm and need a different mode of education delivery, those in the slums and squatters and streetchildren now being reached by our Pinoy hero Efren Penaflorida. These children and their families in urban decaying communities have to return to the provinces and our policies and programs should make it attractive for them to work in the farms they have abandoned, pawned or sold.", Loren stated.

Lastly, Loren said that if she wins as vice president, she will really fight for budgetary priority in education and assess the implementation of landmark reforms advanced by the Congressional Education Commission or EDCOM of 1991. "Education reforms should transform.", Loren said.

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