Philippines: Senators agree to push English, decentralized Deped

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Dec 17 17:00:33 UTC 2006

Senators agree to push English, decentralized Deped

House Deputy Majority Leader Eduardo Gullas said he has already obtained
the assurance of key senators who have all vowed to push hard for the
Senate approval of the House-endorsed bills reinstating English as the
teaching language and totally decentralizing the massive payroll services
of the Department of Education (Deped).<br><br>"We've already talked to
Senate President Manny Villar, Senate President Pro-Tempore Juan Flavier
and Senators Edgardo Angara and Panfilo Lacson, and they are all
absolutely supportive of both House-approved bills," said Gullas, an
educator.  Gullas was referring to House Bill 4701, which seeks to revive
English as the medium of instruction in all school levels in lieu of the
bilingual language policy, and HB 5579, which proposes to break up Deped's
huge payroll section into regional units to quicken the processing of the
checks of the country's 505,150 public school teachers.

The House passed the two bills on third and final reading in September.
Both measures, authored by Gullas, have since been pending Senate action.
"Our senators are definitely very encouraging. No less than the Senate
President is committed to passing both bills. We are thus wholly confident
they will approve the twin measures shortly,"  said Gullas, who represents
Cebu province's first district.  One of Gullas' co-authors of the bill
reinstating English as the teaching language is no less than the Senate
President's better half, Las Pias City Rep. Cynthia Villar.  Senate
consideration and approval of the two bills had been previously stalled by
reorganization involving the Senate education committee.

Flavier effectively gave up his work as education committee chair to
concentrate on his job as Senate President Pro-Tempore. As a result, the
committee's work is now being handled by two subcommittees chaired by
Angara and Lacson.  While most Filipinos are convinced that English
mastery leads to improved job opportunities, national proficiency in the
language has declined by 10 percentage points in the last 12 years,
according to a March 2006 survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The survey showed that only two out of three Filipino adults or 65 percent
understood spoken and written English. Some 14 percent said they were not
competent at all in spoken and written English.

In the December 1993 and September 2000 surveys by SWS, three out of four
Filipino adults or 75 percent said they understood spoken and written
English. Only seven percent said they were not competent at all in spoken
and written English.  The results of this year's National Achievement Test
showed that in English, fourth-year high school and Grade 6 students got
mean percentage scores of only 47.73 percent and 54.05 percent,
respectively.  Under HB 5579, payroll services units would be established
in every Deped regional office, except Metro Manila,
Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon and Mindoro Occidential-Mindoro

Deped's largely Manila-based payroll division clears more than
P100-billion worth of paychecks yearly. This is expected to increase in
the years ahead as additional teachers are hired to address the public
school system's severe staff shortage.  Next year alone, Deped is spending
almost P2 billion to engage 16,390 new teachers and non-teaching
personnel. (PNA)


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list