Press Release
May 27, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara has expressed confidence that the canvassing of votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidates will be a lot quicker than the 2004 national elections as most of the candidates have already conceded.

Angara, member of the joint congressional canvassing committee, said while lawyers and representatives of losing candidates could raise questions in the canvassing of votes, he did not think this would be "hotly contested" issues because "their principals have already conceded".

"If ever, this would be just for record and future guidance of the Commission on Elections," he added.

However, Angara said that although contentious issues will be minimized, it doesn't mean there will be no issue that will surface. "If there is an evidence of fraud, it should be referred to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal because it's already outside the jurisdiction of the canvassing board."

In 2004, it took the Joint Committee 23 days of canvassing while for this 2010 canvassing, it is scheduled to last for only 2 weeks in the legislative calendar.

"I'm optimistic that this will be quicker than 2004, let's just be patient and let our political and constitutional process take its final course," said Angara.

Meanwhile, as the opening of classes draws near, Angara urged the incoming administration to "take up seriously the declining quality of the country's education system."

Angara emphasized the need to address some of the serious issues like the lack of competent teachers, the poor and low supply of school books, dilapidated buildings and facilities and the seemingly outdated modules that public schools implement especially in rural areas.

"We need to address these issues in order to maximize the talents of Filipinos and to put them in a vantage point in the domestic and global labour market," said Angara, former President of the University of the Philippines and Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

Angara referred to some schools in rural communities wherein two teachers serve all levels in elementary--one for Grades 1-3 and the other for Grades 3-6.With this, he has called for the raise in the salary grade of teachers to SG13 in order to increase their salary to Php21,293 - up by 77% from the current salary level--to foster competitiveness in the country's educational system.

"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," noted Angara. He 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 that 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.

"Education is a critical area that the new administration needs to focus on, among the nation's many problems."

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