Press Release
October 10, 2012

Jinggoy pushes nationwide SPED program for 'children
and youth with special needs'

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is pushing for immediate approval of a measure which seeks to establish a special education (SPED) program for children and youth with special needs (CYSN) in all public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

Senate Bill 3002 or the proposed Special Education Act aims to make the country's education system inclusive, ensuring its accessibility among the young including CYSN or those with developmental delays, intellectual disability, learning disability; speech defect; behavior problem; autism; or visual, hearing, orthopedic or physical impairment; as well as those considered as gifted and talented.

It specifically seeks the following:

- establishment and operation of at least one special education (SPED) Center for each school division and at least three SPED Centers in big school divisions;
- creation of the Bureau of Special Education (BSPED) under the Department of Education which will formulate and administer appropriate curriculum and developmentally-suited programs for CYSN, train SPED teachers/instructors and produce needed teaching materials;
- provision of financial assistance in the education of CYSN; and
- integration to the education of CYSN the provision for their respective medical, intervention, health, recreation and nutrition needs.

The measure calls for partnerships between and among the national government, local government units and the private sector for maximum efficiency in the implementation of the nationwide SPED program.

SB 3002, a consolidation of several related proposals in the Senate regarding CYSN, is principally authored by Estrada and is up for the chamber's deliberation under Committee Report No. 75.

"Our government should fully support children and youth with special needs in their development as self-responsible, competent and productive citizens as well as in their active participation in social activities and functions. Ensuring accessible, quality education for them through the proposed Special Education Act is one important step toward this," Estrada underscored.

The senator said the measure boosts development goals for CYSN as expressed in the country's Constitution and respective laws as well as in international declarations such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

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