Press Release
September 27, 2010

Legarda to Dep Ed: Institutionalize Kindergarten and Require "Pinakbet"
or "Bahay Kubo" Gardens In All Open Spaces of Public Schools

Senator Loren Legarda said it is important to institutionalize kindergarten classes especially for the middle to the lower sectors.

During the Committee on Finance hearing on the budget of the Department of Education, Legarda said the existing summer kindergarten program is not sufficient for the young children to prepare them for Grade 1.

"If they don't go to kindergarten there is a greater risk for them to drop out. They have a weaker body and weak mind."

"Officials of the Department of Education admitted that the current drop out rate of kindergarten students is rising from 6.37% to 6.7%."

"Lack of information for the education for their kids, malnutrition, health problems where the parents lack medical care and when children are born without medical care are the causes why less and less children are attending kindergarten."

On the issue of malnutrition, Legarda asked the officials of the Department of Education to coordinate and ask assistance from all the nutrition offices of the Department of Health, the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Agriculture.

"With self-sufficiency as their goals, I strongly urge a more vigilant implementation of the backyard vegetable program in all the empty spaces in public elementary schools." Legarda proposed that the Department of Education should assist in providing planting materials that are, "Akma sa lupa nila in coordination with the Department of Agriculture."

"They should plant the vegetables included in the pinakbet dish by having 'Pinakbet' gardens or plant vegetables that are mentioned in the 'Bahay Kubo' song."

Legarda said, "All these vegetables are madaling itanim at masustansiya kainin."

During the same hearing, Legarda inquired about limiting to one shift the holding of classes instead of the ongoing three shifts. "We must make our projections realistic relative to the available resources and find out where we can access more funding."

Legarda questioned about the backlog in the payment of the hazard pay of the teachers. "This benefit is in the Magna Carta for Teachers and this must be complied with."

In closing, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change asked the Dep Ed officials to submit a status of school buildings that have not yet been fixed since Ondoy.

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