Philippines: English to be re-instated as medium of instruction

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Dec 18 14:41:12 UTC 2006

2 education bills backed
By Macon Ramos Araneta

SENATORS will likely back House-endorsed bills that would re-instate
English as the countrys medium of instruction and decentralize the payroll
services of the Department of Education, a congressional leader said
yesterday. House Deputy Majority Leader Eduardo Gullas said he was assured
by some key senators that they would push the Senate approval of 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 the departments huge payroll section into
regional units to quicken the processing of the checks of the countrys
505,150 public school teachers.

We've already talked to Senate President Manny Villar, Senate President
Protempore Juan Flavier and Senators Edgardo Angara and Panfilo Lacson.
They are all absolutely supportive of both House-approved bills, Gullas
said. The House passed the two bills on third and final reading in
September, but both bills have not been approved by the Senate. 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, he said. Senate consideration
and approval of the two bills had been previously stalled by a
reorganization of the Senate education committee.

Flavier effectively gave up his work as education committee chairman to
concentrate on his job as Senate president protempore. As a result, the
committees 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 survey by the Social Weather Stations. 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.

Under HB 5579, payroll services units would be established in every
regional office of the education department, except Metro Manila,
Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon and Mindoro Occidental-Mindoro

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