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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Perlas, Escudero, Padaca and Gordon Squares Off at Talakayan 20.10

It was another Talakayan 20.10 hosted by the Movement for Good Governance and it was held at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. This edition it talked about Education Reform and was hosted by Che Che Lazaro. The presidentiables present at the forum where Nicanor "Nick" Perlas, Gov. Grace Padaca, Sen. Richard Gordon and Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero. Most of the presidentiables present stress the need to reform the educational system but for me only two of what I heard stand out. These are the holistic approach in education and making the educational system in our country in tune to the 21st century; and the second one is that of Gov. Grace Padaca stressing the use of indigenous and native language as the first modal of instruction then using English in some core subjects which needs it.

Another noticeable proposal during the entire forum was the insistence of having taxes on text messaging in order to utilize these taxes on educational improvement and reform. I wonder how will that fare with the Filipino people. We are now sure that a Gordon presidency will assure a text tax. I also wonder why the focus on that kind of tax where in fact it has become some sort of pop culture for our people to improve communication.

On the question on how can we ensure that every Filipino has quality education, he proposes that there should be a portion in the Income Tax Return of every tax payer which gives them the opportunity to choose where their tax payment will be allocated.

Nick Perlas meanwhile stressed that communities should be empowered to improve education and that education should be taken out of the control of the political. He also cited that around 30%-40% of education budget is lost to corruption.

Escudero says that there is no need for an independent constitutional bdy for education instead the secretary of education should have a fix term and not coterminous with the president's term.

Perlas again stressed that education solutions have to be holistic. Strong leadership at the top but also engage collective wisdom of educators.

Overall the forum provided for a venue for the public to get to know the presidentiables however unless this is televised in public and has a wider audience what was discussed at the forum will just be an echo in silence and an undertaking in futility.

Here are quotes from the closing statements of those that attended the forum:

Sen. Chiz Escudero: "You don't need to be a rocket scientist to solve educ problems; you just need to do the right thing."

Gov. Grace Padaca: "Young children forced to study courses that they don't like only for the sake of getting lucrative jobs."

Sen. Richard "Dick" Gordon: "Will dare to do something; will put it into a law; (clarifies that proposal is not a "text tax"). No clear definition of "common good". We need RESOLUTE leadership. Vision. Values. Volunteerism."

Nicanor "Nick" Perlas: "We are entering Knowledge Economy. Education is key. Need to draw out potential from within. We are living in the 21st century, but outmoded systems, structures. We need to draw out "latent potential"

The next Talakayan 20.10 will be held on August 6, 2009 with Focus on Economy.

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