Press Release
August 28, 2023


Q: The academic year 2023-2024 will begin tomorrow for public schools nationwide. Do you have data if all schools are 100 percent ready for the Balik Eskwela this year?

SEN. WIN: Despite the challenges in different inputs, for example classrooms. During the hearing we discovered that we need approximately 140,000 classrooms in order to achieve a 40:1, one shift set up in our schools. So despite our challenges that our schools are facing and despite what our teachers and principals are facing, they are ready to open school this coming August 29 which is tomorrow and all of these challenges are actually not new to them. They face these challenges year in year out during school opening but despite all of these lack of classrooms and other materials, they've managed to successfully conduct classes without any problems with safety concerns. So the long and short answer is yes, in my opinion they are ready to open school tomorrow and hopefully our parents are ready as well to send their kids to school.

Q: Did you hear that the Department of Education needs around P397 billion to address the country's backlog on classrooms, what are your hopes on this matter? As we now have, sabi nga sa report, almost 50,000 backlogs of classrooms?

SEN. WIN: Yes, it's a big challenge to allocate close to P400 billion to wipe out the backlog of classrooms. It's going to be impossible. It will take many many years to reach that point. So in the short term, we should find an out of the box solution. For example, I proposed to increase the voucher system for Junior High School and Senior High School. This will enable parents and students where to go for their school and we can also utilize the excess capacity of private schools.


Q: Na-mention nyo po sa isa nyong pahayag na this is a far cry from the allocation of budget and of course you wanted to have a solution on this, when do you expect that the budget of DepEd will increase para mapunan itong gap?

SEN. WIN: It will be a challenge. I really admit every budget season, this will be a sticking point and a main issue that we always talk about, how much should we allocate for the classrooms? and the average for the last probably 3 to five years, the average allocation will fluctuate from P10 billion to P40 billion. It's not much compared to the P400 billion that we need. And what's important right now is to find other ways to make our classrooms conducive. For example here in Valenzuela some of our senior high schools have 60 students per classroom. That's not conducive for learning, that's not appropriate for learning. And we need to decongest. And one way that I am pushing for, or one solution that I am pushing is to use the excess capacities of our private schools. Meaning we channel some of our students to go to private schools.

Q: Medyo mabigat pa ito na problema Sir and I am sure hindi ito masosolusyunan ng isang administrasyon lang?

SEN. WIN: Yes, that will take time. It will probably take a few more administrations, probably two more or three more administrations to solve this. So in the meantime we need to have a short term solution. And the short term solution, what we are seeing right now is the three or shifts in some of the schools. Let's think outside of the box, let's see if we can also use online learning or distance learning so that we can decongest schools. But we have to study this carefully because distance learning and online learning also have limitations.


Q: Sir we also want to get your reaction regarding the removal of unnecessary displays inside the classrooms. Do you think it is necessary, what do you think Sir?

SEN. WIN: My understanding of that order is to make our schools clean and presentable. And my understanding is to really clean up the schools of these distractions. So I do agree that schools should be presentable for our parents. I do also agree that schools should be clean all the time and very particular with the cleanliness of our schools, so I do agree that our schools should always clean, clear of distractions and irrelevant posters and irrelevant materials that are posted on the walls.

Q: In effect Sir, wala bang, of course andyan ang panganib na posibleng makaapekto sa mga learners lalo na sa low level learners, seeing visuals na makakatulong din at somehow sa kanila kapag andun sa classroom ay tinanggal na po ng DepEd.

SEN. WIN: Well, definitely, for daycares, kindergartens, Grades 1 to 3, visuals are important also to remind our learners for example the ABCs, the 123s, of course the basic objects like cat, dog, animals, these are very important visual views for our learners and our teachers will know best. What is the direction of that order is not to hamper the learning but to make our schools presentable. So it doesn't mean that because of that order we will remove all the learning materials on the wall. So our teachers will know best what to hang on the wall that can enhance learning.


Q: Good point Sir. Regarding the new Matatag Curriculum, are you in favor of this? In Particular, are there major subjects that are removed from the curriculum?

SEN. WIN: Actually a few days ago, we had a consultative meeting with DepEd and I told them, this is a long time coming. This wasn't a product of an overnight discussion. Four years ago, they were already talking about this. I remember, during the 17th Congress, I chaired a subcommittee on K-12 review and I remember hearing from DepEd and some resource persons that they are reviewing our K-12 curriculum and now after 4-5 years it is now a reality. And the basic feature, the most important and the most basic feature of this revised or the reformed curriculum is the decongestion of our basic education curriculum. We are teaching the students too many things that they are not learning. It's important also for our learners to have time to study, to have time to internalize, to deepen the understanding of certain subjects. Our teachers also should also have time to teach. I remember seeing a survey that only 40% of our teachers manage to finish or manage to teach all the competencies that were assigned to a teacher. So meaning 60% were not even taught and yet during the national achievement, 100% will be tested on the students. That goes to show one of the reasons why our students are not fair and well on the national achievement test is because they are not learning all the competencies that are assigned to a teacher because it is just plain and simple, it's too many.

Q: Sir, nabanggit mo rin noong nakaraan that majority are saying that they did not benefit from the K-12 program. What is the EDCOM doing right now? Kumusta na po itong EDCOM 2?

SEN. WIN: Well, in general, there's a 50-50 favorable and unfavorable view on K-12. And the reason for that is we increased it by two years but a lot of our students cannot get a job or cannot enter college. So the college readiness or job readiness is still much to be desired and that's one of the things that we are fixing in our system is to improve the delivery of our senior high school system or senior high school level.

Q: Will you urge the DepEd, of course, meron na kayong pag-uusap na i-review itong K-10 Matatag Curriculum yung bagong curriculum prior to its implementation for the academic year 2024-2025 to put back the Mother Tongue Subject kasi parang it's one of the major subjects na kailangan ding pag-aralan ng mga mag-aaral?

SEN. WIN: Well, under the new curriculum they removed the Mother tongue as a subject, to decongest the subjects. The point here is to have more time in learning the foundational skills such as reading, writing and math. So DepEd removed the mother tongue subject. Not only removed, but they combined MAPEH, Araling Panlipunan into a single subject called Makabansa subject. So from 8 subjects, it is now reduced to five subjects. And the reason for that is for students to spend more time in Math, spend more time in Reading. These are foundational skills that they will need to strengthen in order to thrive in the next stage level.

Q: To lessen at least the number of camps who belong to the learning gap that you considered, we understand that there are learning camps that are ongoing in the public schools. But to address the so-called education problem, what do you think the government should do under Marcos administration?

SEN. WIN: Well, right now the learning camp is under a pilot setup. And what we suggested in our consultative meeting to convert the learning camp into an intervention program. The learning camp is designed to enhance those who are already proficient in some subjects but what would happen to those who are not proficient in Math, Science and English. So what we suggested instead of enhancement, it should be an intervention program to those who are struggling to pass basic subjects such as Math, Science and English. So admittedly, this is a pilot program and DepEd is taking our suggestion to focus on those students who are struggling on those subjects.


Q: On returning back to old academic years, since we have launched naman ang blended learning mode, can't we use it as a transition towards getting back to the old curriculum?

SEN. WIN: Yeah, well the transition to the old academic year will take time, although I recommended to DepEd that there are a lot of benefits moving to our traditional summer break which are April and May. Learners spend more time with their families. Learners can spend more time playing outside. Learners can bond with their friends and family and that is important to the growth of a child. Right now, for example, in the last two months of the rainy season, a lot of our families could not go out of their houses or didn't go out of their houses because it's traffic and the weather is bad. So there are a lot of benefits to moving to the original academic calendar. That's why we suggested to DepEd in the last hearing to slowly or already transition to the old academic calendar. And I agree with them, it cannot happen overnight, because obviously there will be one year of no break if we do it overnight. So it would probably be a two to three year transition but during the meeting of the minds, there is yes, we have to move towards the old academic break.

Q: Is that the feedback from the DepEd?

SEN. WIN: Not yet, no feedback from the DepEd yet but I understand they want to approach this scientifically so they contracted third party researchers to study this very carefully. But during the hearing we invited PAGASA and PAGASA shared with us that summers right now are getting hotter, rainy seasons are getting more wet or we are getting a lot of rainfall. So they suggested I think the most logical solution is to go back to the original calendar so that during summer students are home, they can play and during those times they can avoid the sweltering heat especially in areas that can reach about 52 degrees celsius.


Q: During the house committee on appropriations hearing, sabi ni Sec. Raphael Lotilla confirmed that they have been granted by President Marcos regarding the exploration in Recto Bank. Do the Philippines have a capability for exploration kasi parang 20 years na raw ang pag-eexplore at wala pa ring development?

SEN. WIN: Yes he is right, we don't have any capability in exploring. And what will happen is we will partner with foreign companies, foreign exploration companies to join forces and to explore. This is a very technical, highly risky and a lot of capital type of business. And no business in the Philippines will have that capability, especially on the technical side. So we have to partner up with foreign oil and gas companies to drill and explore.

News Latest News Feed