Press Release
November 22, 2021

Drilon calls for education commission to tackle worsening state of PH education

Alarmed by several serious problems hounding the country's educational system, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Monday called for the creation of an educational commission to tackle the state of the Philippine education system.

Drilon likewise urged the crafting of a roadmap that will address the very serious problems that threaten the quality of education in the country as he expressed alarm at the recent study by the World Bank that showed that 9 out of 10 kids aged 10 in the country cannot read.

"I urge the Senate leadership and the House leadership to immediately constitute a body, through an educational commission, which we have done before, in order to provide more long-term solutions to these issues," Drilon said during the plenary debates on the 2022 budget of the Department of Education.

"I am so sad that this is happening to us," he said.

The WorldBank recently said that school children in the Philippines struggled with studying remotely due the pandemic which pushed learning poverty in the country to a new high of 90 percent in 2020.

Drilon said the learning poverty is alarming. Reading from the WorldBank report, Drilon said Indonesia has 35.4%; Malaysia, 13.9%; Singapore, 2.8%; Thailand, 23.5%; and Vietnam, 1.7%.

"We beat everybody in this unwelcome data: 9 out of 10 aged 10 would not know how to read," Drilon said.

Drilon said the Philippines joins Ethiopia at 90.3%; Madagascars, 96.7%; Yemen, 94.7%; Afghanistan, 93.4% at the bottom.

"We are worse than countries like Bangladesh with 51% and Pakistan with 74%," he noted.

"It is quite alarming. This affects the ability of our future generation to be useful citizens of our country. That should worry our education sector. That should worry the administration. We should give more funds to the education sector," Drilon said.

Advocates from the academe and business sector had previously called for the immediate convening of a multi-sectoral Educational Commission (EdCom) to urgently discuss the country's educational system.

The veteran senator called on his colleagues to immediately pass a resolution which would create the educational commission.

"We should sit down with the executive branch and come up with measures that are needed in order to make a serious effort in addressing these very serious problems," Drilon said.

Drilon emphasized the need for a bigger budget for the education sector in order to address the challenges and improve the quality of the education system in the country.

"We must make sure that resources are devoted. You cannot solve all these without resources: classroom shortage, teachers, teacher aids, etc.", he said.

Drilon pointed these out as he criticized the lack of priority being given to the education sector.

DepEd will receive P590.19 billion in the proposed 2022 national budget. It was revealed, upon Drilon's interpellation, that the department's original proposal to the Department of Budget and Manage is around P1.3 trillion but only 45.38 percent or P590/19 billion was allocated in the National Expenditures Program.

"Kahit ano pang gawin natin, kung ang education sector ay hindi po nabibigyan ng sapat na suporta dahilan sa mga priority na nandiyan sa budget. No amount of adjustments of the budget of the DepEd in the Senate will solve the problem..." Drilon said.

"The education sector suffers in terms of priority as against, for example, the security sector. It is quite unfortunate," Drilon lamented.

Drilon said he would have supported the original budget proposal of P1.3 trillion of the DepEd.

"I support the education sector. But here, I really do not see sufficient resources to address these problems hounding the education system," Drilon said.

Rather than complaining about the lack of consultation on the part of the World Bank, Drilon said the DepEd should address the problems.

"Let us have a roadmap agreed upon by the executive in order to provide a solution to these problems. There must be a plan for these very serious concerns in the education system," Drilon proposed.

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