More public libraries pushed as Philippine education deteriorates: Recto

·Contributor
·2 min read
Children select books from the makeshift trolley which serves as a mobile library, near the railroad, in Tagkawayan, Quezon Province, Philippines, February 15, 2022. House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto has called on the government to build more school libraries to address the country’s deteriorating state of education. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Lisa Marie David)
Children select books from the makeshift trolley which serves as a mobile library, near the railroad, in Tagkawayan, Quezon Province, Philippines, February 15, 2022. House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto has called on the government to build more school libraries to address the country’s deteriorating state of education. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Lisa Marie David)

House Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto has called on the government to build more school libraries in response to the country’s deteriorating state of education, as the Philippines ranks last among 79 nations in reading comprehension.

In a statement on Sunday (Sep 11), the lawmaker and Batangas Representative to the Congress said that the government should end its 16-year moratorium on building libraries in public schools nationwide after the country scored lowest in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“We should end the moratorium in building new libraries. A school without one is like a swimming pool without water,” Recto said.

The last time the government allocated a budget for public libraries was in 2006 when it funded the establishment of 60 library hubs and 12 learning resource centers worth a total of P120 million.

“The program was still highlighted in the 2014 budget of DepEd but was no longer in the years that followed,” Recto said.

The congressman further proposed to increase the Department of Education (DepEd) 2023 fund for new buildings by P5.91 billion to build 2,379 new classrooms.

“Let’s set aside funds for libraries in the 2023 budget. It’s time to turn the page and reverse the neglect of this vital school facility,” he said.

“Let’s make sure that our young people will fall in love with books. And building book depots and reading centers could be the start of their beautiful relationship with reading. If we want our kids to read, read, read, we should build, build, build libraries,” Recto added.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings. The views expressed are her own.

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