Press Release
May 24, 2010


In preparation for the opening of the coming school year, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara today urged the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to ensure that this year's supply of books will cover more students across the country.

"The persistent issue of the lack of books for public school children shows the declining quality of education, especially among government-run institutions. This needs to be addressed so we can give our children the education they need," said Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE). Angara also urged the DepEd to carefully allocate books especially those for public schools, and maximize resources to fully equip school children with the necessary materials.

In 2008, the Commission on Audit reported a total of P6.7 million worth of books have been left unused in Central Visayas. The COA's annual audit report on DepEd's 2007 transactions also found that a total of 1,275,056 textbooks worth P57.3 million were left unused nationwide.

Angara has been a staunch advocate of the education sector, among others, and authored many of the laws securing book development in the country. In recent months, he has begun his own book donation projects in elementary schools in Aurora, his home province, and hopes that the DepEd and key players of the private sector will follow suit in other provinces.

READ Philippines, an advocate for the education sector, reported that poor rural communities in the country are often deprived of a quality education. They cite the lack of school facilities and equipment, dilapidated classrooms, poorly prepared teachers and the lack of textbooks and reference materials hinder children from excelling and overcoming the barriers of learning.

In less visible cases, donated materials from foreign governments and aid agencies also do not reach the schools and communities in most need. As an example, the Promoting Asian Literacy (PAL) Program of the students of Singapore sends large numbers of donated books for libraries and classrooms for elementary and high schools in the Philippines. But when they reach the country they are saturated in Manila schools and less are given to rural schools and indigenous community learning centers.

"There is never a lack of worthy and deserving recipients, but never enough books to spread around," Angara laments. He added, "it is still the serious responsibility of the government to harness its resources to improve the sad state of our public school system. This is a critical area that the new administration needs to focus on, among the nation's many problems."

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