Angara’s top priority education for all Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines – If there’s a public issue that Team PNoy senatorial candidate and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara feels strongly about, it is education, particularly the need to ensure that all Filipinos have easy access to quality education.
Like his father outgoing Sen. Edgardo Angara who was dubbed as the education czar, the 40-year-old congressman has a track record in education legislation.
Angara is chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education and ex-officio member of the Board of Regents of the University of the Philippines. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2004 and re-elected in 2007 and 2010.
As a young lawmaker, Angara was cited for having the most number of bills enacted into law. Among these were the PERA Law, Magna Carta of Women, Civil Aviation Act, Pre-Need Code, National Cultural Heritage Law, University of the Philippines Charter, Tourism Act, Renewable Energy Law, Credit Information System, Tax Relief For Minimum Wage Earners Law, and Real Estate Investment Trust Law.
He was also instrumental in the creation of COMSTE (Congressional Commission to Review State of Competitiveness of Science, Technology and R&D in the Philippines), passing of the Salary Standardization Law, and creation of various national high schools and state universities.
Angara studied Economics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, graduating with honors. He took up law at UP and obtained his Master of Laws in 2003 at Harvard. He was named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in 2010.
Angara has a set of draft laws, which he will file at once if elected to the Senate. Among the measures he has promised to file are education bills seeking to benefit senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and dependents of slain policemen and soldiers.
“I can’t stress this enough: Quality education should be accessible to everyone, most especially to the poor,” Angara said, explaining that the country’s growth would not continue if its people are poorly educated.
“As the economy continues to recover, we have to start modernizing Philippine education and invest in our students to make them skilled professionals and workers who define the country’s economic success,” he added.
Angara noted that out of 100 children that started elementary education, less than 20 graduated from college, and the high dropout rate is one of the most depressing figures in Philippine education.
Angara also vows to set aside P100 million from his congressional allocation for the construction of classrooms and push for the approval of an ambitious education modernization program that would cost P19 billion over the next 10 years.
Also included in his list of priorities is the enactment of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Higher and Technical Education Act or UNIFAST, which is the consolidated version of the Scholarship for the Poor Act and the Comprehensive Study Now Pay Later Program.
“We want to make education as accessible as possible because it acts as the solution, enabling our students to be more critical, ask more questions, discover new things, and dream,” Angara said.
He called on Filipinos, especially the youth to remain persevering and optimistic about their future that can only be secured through hard work and discipline.
“When we remain positive, we stay focused on finding solutions. And there is no place for cynicism if we are to solve the greatest challenges we face today,” he said.