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Aug.

11,2009
Education Is The Only Solution To Poverty And Conflict-Lapus
Quirico M. Gorpido, Jr,.

Maasin City, Southern Leyte-Education Secretary Jesli Lapus who was the guest of
honor and speaker during the recent 49th Founding Day anniversary celebration of
the province of Southern Leyte has divulged that the only solution to poverty and
conflict is good quality education.
He stressed that the main reason why there’s a conflict not only in Mindanao
but also in other countries is because people who were involved in conflict were
not properly educated.” They have no respect for religion and culture of different
peoples because they were not properly educated”, he said.
He implied that this is the main thrust of his leadership as Education
Secretary. He disclosed that 50% of Filipino children are not in school. While 60%
of schoolchildren have worms and were susceptible to diarrhea as common ailment.”
This is due to the lack of awareness in teaching hygiene and sanitation in
school”, he said.

Revival On Basic Approach To Cleanliness


The basic approach to cleanliness like washing hands and brushing teeth were
taught to schoolchildren in the past. But as the years gone by this simple but
essential hygiene was somewhat overlooked by the new generations of elementary and
high school teachers. As part of the solution to the problem he introduced the so
called Essential Provision Health Package in public schools. He said that DepEd is
now adapting the policy of teaching the children the importance of washing their
hands as often as necessary, especially before eating. Schoolchildren from 6 to 12
were now taught to brush their teeth regularly with cheaper flouride-contain
toothpaste.
Lapus claimed that 97% of children in more educated countries worldwide have
the habit of brushing their teeth regularly. Obviously they were also taught in
school, he said. “In the USA children have no cavities” The Education agency has
also administered deworming to schoolchildren.
To make teachers more competent and proficient he revealed that 120,000
teachers were trained last year in English, Math and Sciences. There were also
some teachers to be trained in the teaching of foreign languages like French,
Spanish and other languages to make Filipinos multilingual speakers. Another
600,000 teachers are also schedule for the next batch of training for the same
purpose.

Pacquiao’s Influence
He implied that the move of Manny Pacquiao to take the accelerated
accreditation test for high school graduate equivalence has influenced other lower
grader students to take also DepED’s AAT.”Only 35,000 have taken the AAT for high
school education equivalence nationwide”, he said. “But after Manny has taken up
the AAT the number of takers have risen up to 120,000 now”.
He said that another program of DepED is the alternative learning system
where close to 6M Filipinos who stopped schooling for some reason are expected to
benefit.

Adopting A New System


DepEd under its new leadership has broadened its educational embrace in
school curriculum. He revealed that Arabic language and Muslim culture are now
included in schools’ subjects in areas of the country where there are high
population of Muslims. He implied that the innovative move has obviously gladden
the Muslim leaders that he was conferred as Datu and Sultan during his two recent
visits in the Lanao Provinces..
Lapus also urged the LGUs to invest more in quality education and to continue
their support of DepED’s programs to reach the objective of the Education
Department. “Let the children who are in school be in school.
The school is the children’s second home”, he said.
The Education Secretary, a conferred Full Commander as an Army Reservist, also
thanked Congressman Roger Mercado, Governor Damian Mercado and the LGU officials
for their support and cooperation of DepED’s program in the province.”DepED cannot
be number one without the support of LGUs, NGOs and other public officials”, he
said.

Sustain The Momentum


He admitted however that his programs need to be sustained by any incoming
Education Secretary of the next Administration in case his desire to run for
Senator would be realized in the upcoming national elections next year. He implied
there are persuasions from those close to him to run for a higher position in the
government.
He also insinuated to whoever would be his successor at the Education
Department to sustain the momentum of his programs. He believed that his new
programs are deeming worthy for adoption for the continual improvement of the
present education system.
Congressman Mercado for his part reciprocated Lapus and thanked the EdSec for
the construction of school buildings in different municipalities, to President
Arroyo for supporting his programs in the province and to officials in his
district for their cooperation and supports of all his programs.

Mercado further announced that he will invite and ask other Secretaries to
provide support for various livelihood programs for the jobless people in the
province.
Furthermore, the former banker and DAR official said that education is not only
the responsibility of a few groups of people but for everyone. “All countries
considered education the most needed for its peoples”.
He also reminded the flock of teachers who were part of the huge audience of their
important role as educators. He reiterated what he has said earlier saying, “The
future is in your hands. Let those who are in school be in school. The school is
the children’s second home”.
The Education Secretary was introduced by Governor Damian Mercado with his long
list of previous positions and accomplishments in his chosen fields. He was met by
SP Albert Esclamado at the Tacloban airport early morning. Congressman Mercado and
Governor Mercado were supposed to meet him at the airport who called him(the
EdSec) days before the 49th anniversary of the province. However, they have other
important affair to attend. Their presence was considered very urgent like the
scheduled nocturnal Southern Leyte Beauty Pageant contest where Defense Secretary
Gilberto Teodoro,Jr. who was brought here by 2 Army choppers in the afternoon on
that day was the guest of honor and speaker of the evening affair.

Long Parade
Earlier there was a long parade which started at the Anatalio Gaviola Plaza
down to the 2-kilometer stretch of the Capitol Playground. It was attended by all
barangay, municipal and city officials, heads of national and provincial agencies,
municipal and provincial employees, teachers and students from Saint Joseph
College, Systems Technology Institute, College of Maasin and the City College.
Also present, among others, were Vice-Governor Miguel Maamo,11,Maasin Mayor
Maloney Samaco and Vice-Mayor Effie Abiera Sabandal and City Councilors, municipal
mayors, Regional Directors of DILG and DAR,SLSU(Southern Leyte State University)
President Gloria Markines Reyes,GTZ staff led by Dr. Andreas Lange, Chief Adviser
on local governance who was one of the witnesses in the signing of the
implementing rules and regulations of the Environment Code, the local press,
capitol employees,PNP personnel led by Provincial Director Nilo Donayre.
(Quirico M. Gorpido, Jr.)

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