Press Release
September 4, 2012



We completed the budget hearing of the Department of Education expect for one attached agency, the National Museum.

We decided to schedule another meeting, this time a joint meeting with TESDA because we are launching a very drastic change of curriculum and school cycle by shifting to the K+12. This is an additional two years to basic education, primary and secondary and it will affect post-secondary education.

There will be a time, in school years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 where there will be no incoming freshmen for college. The colleges and universities are worried: what will happen to them? What will they do with their teachers, their vacant classrooms? We want to see how this gap can be filled up. That is one, the enrollment.

Second is the impact of this overall educational reform on additional government budget. One estimate is that launching the K to12 will cost the government at least P200 billion in additional school budget every year beginning in school year 2016-2017. On the part of the parents, some estimate, according to Senator Ralph Recto, at around P200 million in the form of allowance, uniform, books, etc. for the additional two years of schooling.

So we want to assess both the financial and the learning impact of the new curriculum after high school. Anong mangyayari sa TESDA? Sa CHED? And then, at the end of the day, after we introduce this new curriculum, nag-improve naman ba ang ating educational system? Nag-improve ba ang ating mga graduates, sila ba ay maaari nang mag-compete kahit saan?

2. On preparing for the ASEAN Community in 2015:

In two years' time, in 2015, the Philippines, together with nine other countries in the ASEAN will become one community. One ASEAN community. A Filipino can work without permit in any one of the ASEAN countries--Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam or Thailand. Same with the other countries.

Thais and Singaporeans can also work here, go to school here without restriction. There will be a free exchange of people and goods across boundaries of the ASEAN.

Kaya kailangan competitive tayo ngayon. Sa ngayon, kung dalawa ang mag-aapply sa iisang pwesto, kunwari Science or Math teacher--between a Singaporean and a Filipino, believe me, the Singaporean will always get it because of their very high standards of education.

What about between a Thai and a Filipino? Aba, baka matalo pa rin tayo ng Thai ngayon. Kung sa Filipino and Cambodian, maaaring matalo natin ang Cambodian. Kailangan, hindi lang natin matalo ang Thai ngunit dapat makapantay natin ang lahat.

That is the bottom line in this exercise. We must be competitive with our peers anywhere in the ASEAN dahil ang Filipino ngayon ang pinaka-mobile at migratory person in the world. We have more than 10 percent of our population, almost 11 million Filipinos, working, studying, and raising a family almost anywhere else in the world outside the Philippines. This is why he or she must be competitive.


I cannot truthfully say that we are completely prepared. But I think we are taking steps to do that. But it is our moral responsibility to wage an intensive information campaign. I just got back over the weekend from Thailand and Vietnam. Believe me, every media, every person I talked to talked about 2015. How they will compete with us and with everybody else by 2015. Dito, we hardly talk about 2015. We hardly write about 2015.

But that's going to be a milestone, dahil magiging one community tayo, Not just an economic community where we trade, bargain and do commerce, but also as an employment and education community.


There has been progress in education because the forecast of DepEd is that all of the shortfalls, all the resource gaps in classrooms, teachers, textbooks, sanitation facilities, will be supplied by the end of 2013.

In the past 20, 30 years, our debate is always on classroom shortage, teacher shortage, book shortage, that will be put to an end by 2013.

We wish the secretary good luck. I believe that can be fulfilled because in the past two years the budget of the DepEd has increased by 60 percent--the single biggest jump in budgetary allocation among the different departments of the government.

We have almost a student population, next year, of about 23 million. That population is bigger than the population of Australia, student population of Malaysia and 37 other countries in the world. While we may have the largest student population in this part of the world, we cannot truthfully say that we have the best education because the achievement test of the grade 6 and fourth year high school is "bagsak." Kumbaga ang passing natin ay 75. On the average, 64 lang ang nakukuha nila.

So there is a long way to go to improve the quality of our education. And the point of this exercise to improve the quality. Now that we are resolved in physical needs then we move on to quality and the kind of subjects that we are going to teach our kids, of course science and technology-based curriculum where we can enroll them.

The important thing is that we must all be aware, every Filipino should become aware that we are not giving in isolation in an island. Physically, we are living in an island archipelago. But nowadays, we cannot just judge performance against each other--the Tagalog against the Ilokano, Waray, Bisaya or the Tausug, or Maranao but against other nationalities.

Now, we are going to be one community and competition is no longer just national competition for jobs. Education is now international, global. Therefore, the first lesson that we ought to communicate specially you, in media to our people is that yes we are not leading by our lonesome selves.

We are keeping in competing with the rest of the world and by 2015, we will be competing immediately with 600 million people in the ASEAN, that is the total population of the 10 countries in the ASEAN.

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