Teachers' group also endorse Leni-Kiko tandem
MANILA (UPDATE) - More than 100 current and former heads of of schools, colleges, and universities backed the candidacies of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan for president and vice-president, respectively, in the May elections, according to a statement released Wednesday.
The 117 signatories of the statement declared their "unequivocal support" for Robredo and Pangilinan, following a scrutiny of their track record, plans for education, and “more importantly, their character as individuals.”
They said Robredo demonstrated, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, that her “brand of leadership shines through best in times of crisis—one that can find solutions that are context-based, data-driven, and equity-oriented.”
“’Thus, circumspect of the challenges ahead, we believe that Robredo is the Education President our country needs to address this learning crisis and attain quality education for all,” the group said.
The signatories included former CHED chairpersons Patricia Licuanan, Angel Alcala, and Ester Garcia, former education secretaries Armin Luistro and Fe Hidalgo, and former TESDA director Edicio Dela Torre.
The school heads who backed Robredo included the following:
- Ateneo De Manila University president Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ
- De La Salle University president Br. Bernard S. Oca, FSC
- De La salle Philippines president Edgar Chua
- Adamson University Fr. Marcelo president Manimtim
- Miriam College president Laura Del Rosario
- University of Cebu president Augusto Go
- CEAP and University of Immaculate Conception president Sr. Maria Marissa Viri, RVM
SUPPORT FROM THE ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) also formally endorsed Robredo and Pangilinan, saying the tandem had "the most exemplary track record" among the candidates and "most substantive, concrete, and viable platform for education."
"ACT Philippines’ support for Team Leni-Kiko is grounded on... common stands and platforms for education that we will pursue towards 2022 elections and beyond," ACT said in a statement on Monday.
These platforms include an increase in the education budget, plans for the safe reopening of schools nationwide, review of the basic education curriculum, hike in education personnel's salaries, and upholding academic freedom.
"For the Filipino children and youth and for the future of the nation, ACT Philippines places its support on the candidacy of Team Leni-Kiko and commit to helping in delivering the education sector vote for the victory of pro-education candidates," ACT said.
The 117 educators condemned historical revisionism, which they said presented the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos as “golden years” despite rights abuses, mass media censorship, and education censorship.
“We take this stand consistent with our responsibility to ensure that academic institutions serve as safe spaces for discussion and truth-telling while reminding our fellow educational leaders how our schools and universities served as bastions of truth during the years of the dictatorship,” they said.
Marcos’ son and namesake is among Robredo’s rivals for the presidency in the May elections.
The educators said they hoped students, faculty, parents, and alumni would “help in selecting a competent and conscientious government that our country truly deserves, in the interest of future generations of Filipinos.”
WHAT EDUCATION LEADERS WANT
The group noted Filipino students' "dismal performance" in international assessments, ranking last in the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and faring worst in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment.
The educators also raised concern on the prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the "onslaught of disinformation", and the shutdown of some private schools due to declining enrollments.
They called on Robredo and Pangilinan to lead the country out of "this learning crisis" by increasing education funding to 6 percent of the country's gross domestic product and investing in improving teacher quality.
The group also urged the tandem to pursue technology-mediated teaching and learning reforms, which is is part of Robredo's "Angat Buhay as Edukasyon" platform.
— with report from Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News