Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said if the Department of Education (DepEd) is really determined to continue the K-12 curriculum, then the government must put the necessary resources into its proper implementation.
“Ako mas gusto ko nang ituloy ang K-12 pero itodo [ang resources],” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters on November 10, 2023.
The senator stressed that Philippine education is in crisis and the government has to “fix it now,” otherwise “we’re in trouble in the next 15 years.”
“Ang punto ko, mag-decide tayo. Kung tayo ay committed sa K-12, y’ung P400 billion para sa classrooms ilagay natin. Y’ung mga kailangan na gamit – kitchen, sewing machines, sports facilities, makina – ilagay natin sa loob ng mga school,” he said.
Cayetano said the government has the money to accomplish those within four years.
“Hindi mahirap ang Pilipinas. Hirap lang ang Pilipinas, pero may pera tayo,” he said.
He also said the timeline does not necessarily have to be immediate. “Hindi kaya ng isang taon, pero kaya ng apat na taon,” he said.
The Senate Committee-approved version of the proposed DepEd budget for 2024 is P718 billion. If another P400 billion gets added for the proper implementation of K-12, the Department’s budget would then total P1 trillion.
Reiterating his stand that one of the reasons for the learning poverty in the country is the fewer number of hours students spend in school, Cayetano said DepEd should come up with another curriculum to restore the length of school hours to eight hours.
“[Sa K-12], hindi ka sure kung four hours or three hours lang [ang bata] sa loob ng paaralan,” he said, pointing to the problem of public schools having to hold classes in shifts to accommodate the number of students in limited classrooms.
Cayetano urged the people to “rally behind” the Education Department by sounding the alarm on the issue.
“Kung hindi tayo magbabago, instead of better jobs for our OFWs at mas kaunti ang mag-a-abroad, baligtad ang mangyayari: mas maraming mag-a-abroad at ang makukuhang klase ng trabaho ay mas maliliit ang sweldo at mas delikado,” he said.