Presidential bets vow to increase investments in education at KBP forum

poster by Tcheky Nicole D. Cabrera/ THE FLAME

Presidential aspirants for this year’s elections vowed to allot more resources to the education sector, which was forced to shift to distance learning because of the pandemic.

Five candidates for president attended the Panata sa Bayan forum organized by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) last Friday namely Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo. They laid out their platforms on a number of pressing issues, including those concerning the education sector. 

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. skipped the event supposedly due to a conflict in his schedule.

Domagoso said he would allocate more budget for education and make quality basic education accessible to all Filipinos.

“Four point three percent of the GDP [gross domestic product] will be allocated to the education budget to improve student-teacher ratio focusing on STEM: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Domagoso said.

GDP is the sum total of all services and goods produced in an economy during a particular period.  

Continuously upgrading teachers’ proficiency would also help address the challenges confronting the education sector, Domagoso added.

Robredo promised to increase the budget for the education sector to six percent of the GDP and address the gaps worsened by the pandemic.

“Every teacher should have enough training and sufficient salary. In high-risk areas, each student must be provided with gadgets and internet access so they can continue learning even during a pandemic,” she said in Filipino.

Robredo also cited the need to improve the test scores and performance of students in science, mathematics, and reading to keep pace with international learning assessments.

Lacson’s platform includes giving senior high school students the chance to receive an allowance under government internship programs. He also assured the public that more students would finish college if he wins the race for president. 

“There will be schools in all geographically-isolated, disadvantaged, and conflict-affected areas. There will be an opportunity for the senior high school students to earn monthly allowance from the government internship program,” Lacson said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Pacquiao said he would strengthen the education sector by supporting the alternative learning system and ensuring that the one-gadget-per-student ratio is observed. He also vowed to ensure that all students would have access to free education. 

“We need free education…Parents won’t have to pay for miscellaneous fees. It will be totally free for all courses,” Pacquaio said in Filipino. 

De Guzman did not mention his platform for education during the forum. He vowed to reform the economic system and to prioritize the welfare and livelihood of Filipinos. 

“We should prioritize the livelihood of our people, not profit,” the labor leader said in Filipino. 

De Guzman also promised to boost the agriculture sector and help local farmers increase their produce. 

The forum was aired over 300 KBP stations nationwide and was live-streamed on various news websites. F – Nillicent Bautista and Dawn Danielle Solano

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