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PIA Press Release

Angara joins Aquino in prioritizing education and agriculture

Manila (5 July) -- Senator Edgardo J. Angara called for a more specific plan of action as he joins President Benigno Aquino III on his call to prioritize education and agriculture which the new president outlined during his inaugural address.

"President Aquino stated a lot of tactical, down to earth doable recommendations in his inaugural speech. Now we need to break them down into specifics and create a concrete plan of action to implement his key priorities," said Angara, former Dept. of Agriculture Secretary and chair of the Education Commission (EdCom).

He added, "For instance, his recommendation on classroom shortage and irrigation and post harvest training, those are very important and that is what we need."

Angara cited that more than the shortage of classrooms there is a dire need to address the lack of textbooks, teachers, computers in every school for and upgrade the basic education curriculum to increase competitiveness especially in Science and Technology (S&T).

Angara, who is Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), noted that S&T is key in building a strong national foundation that can generate innovative ideas for high value products and services.

Further, the Senator said that research and development on agriculture must be given attention. He said government must also find ways to enable the farmers to access and command of market information through technology.

"We should help our farmers have access to information - weather forecast or updates, product information, prices of fertilizers and pesticides, so that they can bypass the traders who control production and prices. Secondly, we should provide them access to credit so that they are not at the mercy of middlemen," said Angara.

"President Aquino?s inaugural speech tugs at the heartstrings of the ordinary Filipino by citing the everyman?s concern ? education, food, corruption in government. These are life and death issues for the Filipino, which may be addressed by focusing on infrastructure, increasing agriculture productivity and raising the standards of education," concludes Angara.

COMSTE has identified six key areas that should be prioritized in order to keep the country?s R&D and S&T globally competitive. These are in the fields of food and agriculture, science math and engineering (SME) education, IT and IT enabled industries, Health sciences, energy and environment, and semiconductors and electronics.

Angara was a former President of the University of the Philippines, a pioneer of education reform in the country including the creation of CHED, TESDA and the Free High School Act, as well as author of landmark legislations for agriculture such as the Agriculture Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) and the Agriculture Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF). (COMSTE) [top]

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