Press Release
May 14, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored that changes to the Early Years Act (EYA), now filed under Senate Bill No. 3176, will address concerns about the proposed shift in the management of early childhood care and development (ECCD) programs in the country.

The EYA aims to institutionalize the provision of early childhood education. The measure will make the ECCD council an attached agency of the Department of Education (DepEd), with a Governing Board that includes the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), the National Nutritional Council (NNC) and the various leagues of local government.

Congress passed the EYA earlier this year. However, it was vetoed by President Aquino, citing potential overlaps in agency accountability; budgetary constraints; concerns on the possible displacement of barangay day care workers; and issues towards rationalizing the bureaucracy.

"The bill will not lead to an overlap in agency accountability because it retains the core departments and agencies that are already overseeing the government's ECCD program, namely the DepEd, DSWD, the DOH, and the ECCD Council," said Angara during a public hearing on the proposed measure. "They will still be there and will be supported by the LGUs [Local Government Units]."

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, further explained that an earlier version of the bill provided a budgetary allocation of P3.5 billion over five years, which translates into an allotment of only P57 for each of the 12 million Filipino children who will benefit from the measure. The new version of the EYA proposes a smaller budgetary allocation of P2.5 billion over a five-year period.

In contrast, P2.39 billion will be spent to finance the newly-instituted Kindergarten program of the DepEd for AY 2012-2013. Angara also sponsored the Kindergarten Education Act.

"The limited resources of government will always be an important consideration whenever reforms are proposed," noted the veteran lawmaker. "The bill in fact provides that existing infrastructure should be used to save on government expenditure, on top of lessening the proposed budgetary allocation.

"But finances should not hold back our shift to an essential learning program. We should prioritize our spending towards giving our children an early start in education," Angara explained.

He refuted the reasoning of the veto that barangay day care workers will be displaced. "On the contrary, the measure recommends that 50 percent of the daycare workers that are college graduates, and the 30 percent who still need to get their undergraduate degrees will be enrolled and have their skills upgraded."

The former UP President concluded, "Then there is the argument that the measure runs counter to the rationalization of the bureaucracy. But by its nature, the educational reform we are proposing is radical and disruptive. We will have to disrupt the status quo if we want genuine change in the system. Education is an investment for our future."

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