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PIA Press Release

PGMA instructs DepEd to collect voluntary fees only starting Grade 5

By Jessie R. Valdez

San Fernando City, La Union (5 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo instructed DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus that voluntary fees like Red Cross, Boy and Girl Scouts should only be collected starting Grade 5 so that they will not be a reason to keep children away from primary school.

The President issued this instruction during the Education Congress held recently at the Manila Hotel. With 500 participants, the President explained further that with the enforcement of DepEd Order No. 16 which mandates that forced collection of miscellaneous fees from pupils /students during enrollment day is prohibited, has increased the chances of children finishing school. "With that single act brought in almost a million children to school," the President added.

The Chief Executive also informed the group that from the beginning of her Administration they have recognized education as the key to the next generation in order to get ahead and get a good job.

The government has given priority to the provision of quality and free education which is integral to the fight against poverty and concrete actions / programs were set in pursuit of the Administration's campaign to increase access to education, especially the poor.

Aside from the construction of thousands of classrooms and school buildings nationwide, increasing number of textbooks, enhancing computer for public schools program by installing internet-linked computers, expanded the food-for-school program/ day care centers, the government launched the Ahon Pamilyang Pinoy program of conditional cash donations to poor households who comply with the requirements that strengthens learning and health and the government plans to increase the budget from P50million to P5billion this year.

The President also announced that to reduce time and expenses in going to school, the local governments were invited to join the national government's program on "Bike for School" program that is patterned to Thailand's to improve school attendance. The President said the government can provide two siblings whose school is 10 kilometers away with a bicycle which they will amortize at P1 a day.

PGMA recognizes the support of OFWs, individual donors, NGOs, corporate foundations, LGUs, chamber of commerce and other benevolent donors to the classroom building and computer linkage programs of the government and that she extends her heartfelt gratitude for their contributions. (PIA La Union) [top]

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