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“Sen Sonny as DepEd Secretary – a win for education” – Gatchalian


Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara was feted by colleagues from the Second Second Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM 2), as he buckles down to take on the position of Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), following the announcement by Malacañang last July 02, 2024.

The fete was joined by EDCOM 2 Standing Committee and Advisory Council Members, and other champions from the education sector,  including Fr. Ben Nebres and Fr. Bobby Yap of Ateneo de Manila University, former TESDA Director Generals Irene Isaac and Edicio Dela Torre, former UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr Cynthia Bautista, Jose Rizal University President Dr. Vince Fabella, President and CEO of PHINMA Education and Philippine Business for Education Dr Chito Salazar, and Private Education Assistance Committee Executive Director Rhodora Ferrer, among other staunch advocates of education. 

“We should make sure to “close” EDCOM 1, and make sure that EDCOM 2 is not an unwritten book. We’re here to see through the work of the EDCOM,” says new DepEd Secretary Sonny Angara. 

Angara served as EDCOM 2 Commissioner, and as its Co-Chairperson for the Standing Committee on Governance and Finance. Under his leadership, the Commission is studying reforms on improving coordination across the three education agencies following the EDCOM 1 trifocalization; complementarity between public and private education; efficiency and equity in education financing; and decentralization.

“He has his heart in Education. I think it’s the best for EDCOM to have someone in the executive department to listen to us, to hopefully implement some of our recommendations, and also to work with closely. I am very excited to work with our new Secretary, Sec Sonny Angara, and the whole EDCOM family, the whole EDCOM machinery is behind you. Congratulations,” says EDCOM 2 Co-Chairperson Senator Win Gatchalian. 

“We still believe in the power of education – its ability to transform the dreams of a family or of a student. I believe the people in this room, with Sen. Sonny, leading the Department of Education, is in the best position to make those dreams come true”, said EDCOM 2 Subcommittee on Governance and Finance Member Dr. Vince Fabella. 

As an EDCOM 2 Commissioner and Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Angara led the review of the education agency budgets, and ensured that urgent interventions had the necessary fiscal support. This included the addition of a Php 300 million budget under the Department of Health in the General Appropriations Act of 2024 for nutrition and feeding to boost the health of nutritionally-at-risk pregnant mothers and children below 2 years of age. Meanwhile, in order to enhance the employment prospects of SHS graduates, Angara also ensured the Php 438.16 million allocation to the TESDA Regulatory Program to assess 420,967 Grade 12 learners enrolled in the TVL track in order for them to obtain national certification. Php 50 million was also set aside to beef up the number of assessors at TESDA. This funding aims to expand the current assessment capacity by 11,000 assessors, aiming to reach approximately 19,000 assessors by the end of 2024. 

Angara likewise shepherded EDCOM 2’s discussions on decentralization and participatory governance, even funding a pilot in Iloilo to demonstrate how devolution of certain processes in the delivery of basic education can result in improved learning outcomes for students. 

While in EDCOM, Sen. Sonny also pushed for further research to inform education reforms to be pushed by the Commission. This included the revival of the University of the Philippines President Edgardo J. Angara Fellowship (UPPEJA). The effort enlisted the country’s top minds including National Scientist Carmencita Padilla, former FEU President Dr. Michael Alba, Executive Director of the Commission of Population and Development Dr Lisa Bersales, Dr. Elizabeth King, adjunct professor at Georgetown University; and Dr. Rosario “Chat” Manasan, Senior Education Policy Economist at the Asian Development Bank,  to support the work of EDCOM.

As a legislator for the past 18 years, Angara likewise authored and supported many critical education reforms including Universal Kindergarten law, the K-12 Law, the Anti-Bullying Act, and the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, most of which fall under the priority areas being studied by EDCOM  2.

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