Sara Duterte’s DepEd must address education problems amid P100B budget ask

·1 min read
Philippine Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte
Philippine Vice President Secretary Sara Duterte, who is also the Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary, attends an economic briefing following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's first State of the Nation Address, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 26, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

House Deputy Minority Leader and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Party-list Rep. France Castro questioned Vice President Sara Duterte during the budget hearing for the Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday (September 14).

Sana makita natin ‘yung mga concrete na mga solution ng DepEd (We were hoping to see that DepEd will have concrete solutions,” she said.

Castro mentioned that Duterte’s DepEd seemed to prioritize “mandatory ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps]”, rather than problems in the educational sector.

Bakit sa kabila ng ganitong kalalang problema ng mga estudyante, ang priority legislative agenda pa rin ng DepEd ay ’yung mandatory ROTC?” she said.

(How come in the midst of all these students’ problems, DepEd’s priority legislative agenda is mandatory ROTC?)

She added, “Ano naman ang kinalaman ng ROTC sa pagpapataas ng reading comprehension, mathematical ability and science sa ating mga estudyante?

(What is the relevance of ROTC with improving reading comprehension, mathematical ability and science among our students?)

The lawmaker asked these questions after Sara Duterte mentioned that should DepEd get a budget of P100 billion, she will “solve all the problems of basic education” in six years.

On September 5, the vice president announced to reporters that DepEd had exploratory talks with the Department of National Defense (DND) on ROTC in basic and higher education.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also seeks to include ROTC in senior high school (SHS) programs in both public and private schools.

A number of groups have been referring to the current situation as an educational crisis, especially with students having to spend two years in their homes because of the pandemic.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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