MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed the World Bank's apology for "inadvertently" publishing a controversial report on the status of Philippine education earlier than scheduled and before the Department of Education could provide its input.
According to Duterte, international organizations such as the World Bank should be careful in their reports.
"Well, I would not want to begrudge World Bank but itong mga international whatever bodies working on the problems of the world should be very careful in their statistics. It is not good to commit a wrong internationally. But good as any, we welcome their apology," Duterte said during a recorded public address aired Monday.
Duterte also said that the country's educational problems have long existed, but it is difficult to solve because of lack of funds.
"You know, sa totoo lang, mahirap lang kasi talaga tayo. We are third world country, classified as one. Ang mahirap sa atin is always the constraint of money. Eh kung may pera talaga sana tayo, kung maganda lang ang ating ekonomiya and we're earning just this much, we could have improved on the governance of all departments, all facets of governance," he said.
(You know, to be honest, we are a poor country. We are a third world country, classified as one. We are always financially constrained. If only we have money, if the economy were good and we're earning just this much, we we could have improved on the governance of all departments, all facets of governance.)
"Ang problema nito wala masyadong tayong pera (We don't have much funds). But what we have is enough to what you see now, that is the only thing that money can afford, nakikita ninyo ngayon (that's what you can see."
Duterte said the Philippines could have been at par with other countries if only it has enough funds.
"Kung may pera sana marami (If there were more than enough money), then we could have upgrade everything to compete or reach in parity with the other, mga first class countries," he said.
"We will just work on it. I hope the next administration will be more competent than us now, more bright than us now and more productive than us now."
The President also lauded Education Secretary Leonor Briones for calling out the World Bank for its report.
Briones, for her part, said it was not easy for a powerful institution like the World Bank to apologize, but it did after recognizing the points made by the DepEd.
She also said the issue is now resolved.
The study called "Improving Student Learning Outcomes and Well-Being in the Philippines: What Are International Assessments Telling Us? (Vol.2): Synthesis Report Presentation” said 80 percent of Filipino students fall below the minimum level of proficiency for their grade levels.
The report published on June 29 was earlier criticized by DepEd for using outdated information, with Briones demanding a public apology.