Give teachers freedom to decide what’s best for their students

Senator Pia S. Cayetano weighed in on the “no-homework policy” being proposed by fellow lawmakers for basic and secondary education, saying that teachers should be given the freedom to choose the most effective teaching methods for their students.  

“No disrespect to the authors of the bills. Being a teacher is a very specific calling, and to be an effective teacher, you need the kind of latitude to decide what is best for your students,” Cayetano said, in response to Senator Richard Gordon’s interpellation after she delivered a privilege speech on Monday (September 2).  

“A good teacher will not just go by the books. A good teacher will identify the strengths and weaknesses of their students. And this is where the correlation [of effective learning] to homework comes in,“ she explained.

“To dictate upon a teacher a blanket prohibition against assignments, or a mandate of exactly how much time to give a student in terms of homework would restrain his or her ability to provide for the needs of his or her students,” added the senator. 

“I do believe that the Department of Education can step up and come up with better guidelines. But as to legislation, I would really worry, Mr. President, if we even have the time… to focus on something as specific as this, as to legislate number of hours [for homework].”

“I am all for studying the effects of homework [on the educational development of students]. But I would like to ask this body to approach this not in isolation. It can’t be [a choice between] homework or no homework only,” Cayetano said, as she enjoined fellow senators to consider measures that can provide more holistic learning environments for Filipino children.

“[We must work for] an environment that promotes learning in the classroom, outside of the classroom, in the homes, in the communities, and wherever they are in the Philippines,” she added.  

Cayetano said she believes younger students should be given less homework, but clarified that she would first want to study proposals carefully before making an informed decision. 

Meanwhile, the senator said numerous studies have shown that homework reinforces inequalities in some countries’ socio-economic classes. She said students belonging to upper and lower classes benefit differently from homework policies since they do not enjoy the same privileges when it comes to education. 

Cayetano lamented that students in lower classes have less access to after-school academic and non-academic programs, a conducive environment for studying, and proper support from their families and caregivers.

Lastly, the senator expressed her reservation about actually enacting a law that could restrain the teachers’ ability to attend to the needs of their students, particularly those who need to put in extra work for certain subjects.  

“Let’s say a student is struggling when it comes to Math[ematics]. The teacher may require that the student does extra work. If we prohibit that, then we effectively ban that student from getting extra work from his/her teacher,” she cited. 

In line with this, Cayetano stressed the need to give more support to the country’s educators, with the goal of attracting the best and the brightest into the teaching profession.   

“I know that our teachers are hardworking, a lot of them were scholars on their own. But the reality is, we could do better in terms of making that career track more effective and more attractive,” she said.

“I want to be able to leave that kind of legacy to our children, that they go to any school in the Philippines, and they will get the best education,” added Cayetano, who filed a bill in the 18th Congress seeking to grant additional compensation for teachers in the basic education. #

Senator Richard Gordon interpellates Senator Pia Cayetano after the latter delivered a privilege speech on the ‘no-homework’ policy during Monday’s session.

Do we need less, more, or no homework?

Privilege speech on ‘No-Homework’ Policy *

Mr. President, the title of my privilege speech is, “What is the purpose of homework? Do we need more or less?” 

So I ask all of you to remember your grade school days. I’m just curious to know if our colleagues have experienced a lot of homework, a little homework, or no homework. May I ask for a very informal survey from my colleagues? 

So, no homework, raise your hand. Minimal homework, ayan, si Joel. Homework, minimal? 

So, a lot of homework? Did anyone experience? Ah, si Grace, a lot. Okay, Senator Grace and Senator Risa answered a lot of homework. 

Si Senator Sherwin, hindi sumagot. Okay. 

So, clearly, we all come from a different background, Mr. President, when it comes to our education experience. Because whether you come from a private school or a public school, there’s also a lot of latitude given to our teachers. 

So in the news for the past few weeks were articles on bills that have been filed to drastically lessen or even ban homework during the weekends. But before we decide, and before I hope that the Senate as a body starts discussing the issue of homework, let’s understand first what is the purpose of homework. 

So this is a summary that we culled from various sources. The purpose of homework is to help reinforce what was taught in class; to gather extra info beyond what was taught; to enhance a student’s knowledge on the subject; and to help struggling students improve their grasp of the topic.

So nowhere there says that the student is meant to study alone. That’s not the purpose of homework, or to learn on their own. It’s really to reinforce, to increase, and enhance their knowledge.

But when we discuss whether we will increase or decrease homework, the question we need to ask ourselves is: Is there a correlation between top performing countries when it comes to education standards and their homework hours?

So, I chose five countries to present to you, I’ll show you the slide. So these are the top 5 countries that will be shown to you are Finland, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, and Japan. 

So interestingly, these five countries are the top 5 in the least number of homework hours in a week. Finland has 2.8, South Korea has 2.9, all the way to Japan, 3.8. So that’s less than one hour a day of homework. 

What is now their ranking in the educational system ranking? This happens to be a 2014 ranking, there are updates, but I’ll tell you that these countries are more or less still in the top. 

So in terms of the best education system ranking, Finland is top 5, South Korea is number 1, and Japan is number 2. So for the top 5 countries in terms of less homework… you can conclude that there is a correlation if you look at the three. 

But the other two are not in the top, they’re not even in the top 30. So I have more data, but I am keeping you at five to keep the discussion simple. So you can’t really say there’s a correlation because Brazil and Argentina that have very minimal homework are in the top 40 only, not in the top 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. 

Well the reason for that is because there are many other factors that go into the success of an educational program. And I’ll quickly walk you through it. Let’s look at South Korea that has consistently been in the top. Only 2.9 hours of homework per week. However – and I apologize that the print is so small so I will have to read to all of you – that’s a little bit misleading because they only have 2.9 hours of homework, but they have hours and hours of private study time. They have a lot of after-school work, either in the school or outside of the school. That is typical to many, if not all, of the Korean students. And the classrooms have all the amenities of smart technology, high-speed internet, etc. And they also have summer school. So that’s the situation in South Korea. 

Japan, I would say, is similar in the sense that they have very low homework but they also have so much after-school activities, both academic and non-academic. In fact, the teachers and the students are in charge of cleaning their own schools. That’s a major part of their daily activities. They clean their own school. Some schools require that they come in on Saturdays for studies, and they give a lot of time for both academic and non-academic activities after school. 

Finland is actually my favorite. Only 2.8 hours of homework per week. But, let me walk you through all the other amenities and support that Finland gives to their students. School actually starts at [age] 7. So what does that mean? They don’t have to go to school? It’s not required. But they have a very strong early childhood education system in every community. And I think the figure is like, 90% send their children to early childhood education even though it is not required. 

Their schools have free meals, they have easy access to healthcare, they have psychological counseling, and the teachers – this is the best part, as far as I am concerned – all of the teachers teaching basic ed are required to have a master’s degree. It is an honor to become a teacher in Finland. It is one of the most prestigious jobs, to be a teacher in Finland. 

And I watched TED Talks, I would be very happy to share it with you, I’ve watched videos, I’ve read books on the Finnish education. It really was a country-wide decision to make their education system this way. And one last point. There are no private schools. If I say none, maybe there’s one or two, because it says basically there are none. They’re all public schools. So, the conclusion is, no matter how rich you are, you are forced to support a public school system because your kids will go to public school. So that’s how it is in Finland. 

I also want to emphasize that they are very big on giving latitude to the teachers to decide on how to teach. And when they’re questioned, this is based on a US comparative study, would a Finnish family want to transfer to another community or cross-town because there’s a better school, there’s no such thing daw like that in Finland because all the schools are created the same. They have such high respect for the teachers that they will not even think that mas magaling yung teacher dun kaysa sa teacher dito. So ganun po dun. 

Now, this is the sad thing about homework that I want to point out. There are numerous studies that show that homework reinforces inequalities in socio-economic classes in some countries. How does this happen? 

In many countries in the world, those who belong to the upper socio-economic class go to private schools, and they do a lot of homework compared to those who go to public schools. And the outcomes are very different. Those kids in the private schools with a lot of homework end up faring better. So if you look at that study in isolation, you will conclude that more homework is better. I am not prepared to make that conclusion. I’m just pointing out studies that show in a country, there are these inequities that are brought about [by] the different kinds of education that children can avail of.

Let’s dissect that. What difference is there between a private school, where you pay, and where a child will go to, versus a public school? I don’t have a slide to show you, but I can tell you from experience, and I’ve been talking to a lot of parents, and to visiting a lot of schools. 

Number one, it would be access to after-school programs in and outside of school, both academic and non-academic. Let me give you a moment to think about that. All of you who have children have to know that either your child would be involved in glee club, in sports, in arts, in music, in debate, and so on and so forth. 

The school that my daughters went to, which is La Salle Zobel High School, they are very known for sports, so a lot of the kids there excel in sports, and a lot of them go on to participate in… the Atenista sitting beside me is nagkakamot, wala akong plug tungkol sa Ateneo kasi wala akong anak na nag-Ateneo, but I will give you the floor later on.

But my point is, go to a private school and access to activities, both academic and non-academic are never ever wanting. Sometimes, it is subsidized, or the parents will pay extra. The point is, there is access. That is not so in many public schools. 

The other difference between socio-economic classes when it comes to education is the proper environment. Many children coming from an upper class would be able to go home and either quietly study in their dining table or quietly study in their own bedroom, or some would even have a study room. 

Most people who send their children to public schools do not have that. Salo-salo na ho yung dining table, yung living room, nanonood ng kung anuman pinapanood, wala hong opportunity to concentrate. And that has been identified as a major problem in making homework effective. They cannot even focus when they are in an environment like that. 

And third is the support from family and caregivers. Whether it’s a parent or a substitute parent when parents are working and they can afford to hire a tutor, there is support given when you come from a higher socio-economic bracket. Those who come from a lower economic bracket have more difficulty because probably the working mom and dad cannot afford to get a tutor. Baka wala rin naman tita o lola na magtuturo. So wala na ngang magandang environment, wala rin hong support na naibibigay. 

So without that, it becomes extremely difficult to have an effective homework program. 

Meanwhile, I also want to point out the situation of teachers. I am so envious of the reality that in Finland, teachers are one of the highest paid. Why? Because I want to be able to leave that kind of legacy to our children, that you go to any school in the Philippines, and you will get the best education. 

I know that our teachers are hardworking, a lot of them were scholars on their own, but the reality is, we could do better in terms of making that career track more effective and more attractive to teachers. We could do better in trying to pull the best and the brightest into the teaching profession.

Now, why is it so important to have a good teacher? Well, a good teacher will not just go by the books. A good teacher will identify the strengths and weaknesses of their students. And this is where the correlation to homework comes in. To dictate upon a teacher a blanket prohibition against assignments or a mandate of exactly how much time to give a student in terms of homework would restrain his or her ability to provide for the needs of his or her students.

So before anyone concludes that I am pro-homework, I want to put on record that I come from a no-homework background. My mother is a preschool teacher, and I went to a school that had basically no homework for the entire grade school. And I loved it. Maybe because my background comes from being with my mother all the time, I studied on my own. 

And if you look at the successful programs in other countries, that’s what it is all about. It’s providing a learning environment wherever you are, not ABC types of homework. So I am not against homework per se, but I am definitely for creating the best kind of learning environments for our students. 

If we dictate a number of hours, what about those who follow an academic track? My children did not go to an international school. They went to a private school, but not an international school. So I don’t have personal experience with the IB program, maybe somebody here has, want to share it. But all I know is, for those who have sent their children to the IB program, it is extremely tedious and these kids study all day, every day, Saturday and Sunday, kulang na kulang sa tulog.

But they do that because that is what is required to enter a prestigious school abroad. So how can we now say, “Huwag kang mag-homework” kung yun yung requirement para matapos mo yung academic track na yun? Paano natin ili-limit yung…

Or let’s say, a student is struggling when it comes to Math. Pero desidido siya to pursue a career in Science, but there are Math requirements. So, the teacher may require that that student does extra work. So if you prohibit that, then we effectively banned that student from getting extra work from their teacher. 

And I actually had told my kids in high school, “Ask your teacher for more work.” Kasi nga, kapag walang homework, I love it, but if they’re struggling, then they need extra work so that they can catch up. 

So that’s my only concern here, Mr. President. I am such a believer of no homework, I am such a believer. I will end my privilege speech with a photo of a holistic child, because I am in full support of limiting and only focusing on quality homework, because we want a holistic child. That is our objective. 

I made this up. In fact, kulang pa nga kasi meron pa akong dagdag na community and church. But basically, this is what we want for our children. That they learn outside of school. And there are also tried and tested results showing that if you study continuously, you do not give your brain a chance to recover and come back fresh. 

It is actually recommended, before you take exams, that you take a nap, you have a good sleep, because that’s how the brain works. It can only retain memory when it’s given a chance to take a break. So, I repeat that I am all for studying the effect of homework. But I would like to ask this body to approach this not in isolation. Let us look into what we need to do to provide our children with a holistic learning environment.

It cannot be homework or no homework only. It has to be an environment that promotes learning in the classroom, outside of the classroom, in the homes, in the communities, and wherever they are in the Philippines. 

So, I end on that note, Mr. President, knowing that everybody here genuinely wants to be able to provide the best for our young children. 

Thank you! 

*Privilege speech delivered at the Senate session on September 2, 2019 (Monday)

Senator Pia S. Cayetano being interpellated by Senator Joel Villanueva.
Cayetano: “I am not against homework per se, but I am definitely for creating the best kind of learning environments for our students.” 

Pia lauds signing of National Vision Screening Law

Senator Pia S. Cayetano on Sunday welcomed the passage of a law establishing a national vision screening program for kindergarten pupils, as she stressed that early treatment of eye problems will lead to better learning among the youth and a sustainable future for the country.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed Republic Act 11358 or the ‘National Vision Screening Act,’ which seeks to establish a National Vision Screening Program (NVSP) under the Department of Education. 

“I thank the President for signing this relevant measure, which came just in time for Sight Saving Month,” said Cayetano.

The senator first authored and sponsored the bill in the Senate during the 16th Congress and re-filed the same measure in the House in the 17th Congress. The latter became the base bill for the law signed by the President. 

Cayetano said RA 11358 can help fulfill government’s commitments to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goals 3 and 4 of the SDGs.

Goal 3 calls on nations to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages, including the provision of essential services based on tracer interventions, like vision screening. 

Goal 4, on the other hand, urges nations to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. This includes initiatives to put the development of young children on track in health, learning, and psychosocial well-being.

“Good vision is vital for our children’s learning,” Cayetano said, emphasizing how the law’s objectives and the two SDGs are interrelated. 

She said poor vision at childhood greatly affects a student’s performance in school, and so “ensuring the full well-being of our children is the first step to enable them to reach their full potential and grow up as productive members of society.” 

Prior to the law’s passage, Cayetano has already spearheaded a pilot vision screening test for kindergarten pupils in Taguig City in 2016. The vision-screening was conducted in partnership with the Taguig city government and the UP Manila Philippine Eye Research Institute (PERI). 

One hundred fifty (150) pupils aged five to six at the EM’s Signal Village Elementary School underwent a simple vision-screening test, about 15 of whom were found to have vision problems and in turn received immediate and proper treatment. #

Senator PIa Cayetano leads a reading session for pre-school children and their mothers in Brgy. Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. (file photo)
Senator Pia Cayetano with young children at an evacuation center in Quezon City. (file photo)

Bill seeking to produce globally competitive graduates pushed

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for the establishment of a common national policy on education that will train Filipino students to be job-ready and globally competitive.

In filing Senate Bill No. 62 or the ‘Education Roadmap Act,’ Cayetano aims to institutionalize an education roadmap that incorporates the needed skills and competencies that industries constantly look for in new graduates.

The senator said her proposal seeks to guarantee gainful employment for Filipino students after graduation by addressing current ‘overlapping and confusing education policies.’ Furthermore, the measure aims to make the Philippines at par with its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of producing a competitive workforce. 

Under SBN 62, an Education Roadmap National Coordinating Council shall be created to design, formulate, and monitor implementation of the educational roadmap. 

The council shall focus on five key components, namely, Global Languages, Graduate Competencies, Teacher Competencies, Capacity Building for Centers of Excellence, and School-to-Work Transition.

Furthermore, the national policy on global languages shall be aligned with the Common Framework of Reference for Languages to warrant national and global competitiveness, especially in the areas of education and labor. 

“The roadmap incorporates a careful review of existing curricula so that the skills required by local and international industries from new graduates are integrated in our academic programs,” the senator explained. 

“This roadmap also aims to strengthen capacity building for teachers so that they could properly equip their students with relevant skills and competencies,” she added. 

The bill includes a policy for the seamless progression of students from basic education to higher education and, eventually, to employment. This involves strengthening and expanding internship, apprenticeship, and dual-training programs for students, as well as dynamic collaboration among the government, academe, and industry.

“To ensure that our students’ training are aligned with the requirements of their future employers, industry sector representatives shall be consulted or tapped in developing and implementing the educational roadmap,” Cayetano noted.

“Our education program must constantly keep up with the changing and growing needs of industries. We must also secure lifelong learning opportunities for our youth so that they will be globally competitive and job-ready upon graduation,” the senator said.

A staunch advocate of youth empowerment in Congress, Cayetano has championed several measures to improve the quality and accessibility of education. Among her latest proposals is the  Build, Build, Build for Education Bill which lays down a five-year plan to accelerate infrastructure development in Philippine state universities and colleges (SUCs). #

Senator Pia Cayetano has championed several measures seeking to make quality education accessible to the Filipino youth. (file photo)

Pia: Teachers need pay hike to keep up with decent living standards

To be able to teach effectively, public school teachers need to live decently. 
This was emphasized by Senator Pia S. Cayetano, as she noted the huge disparity between the living wage recommended by government economic planners and the current take-home pay of the average public school teacher. 
Recent estimates by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) show that an average Filipino family of five with two working members earning P21,000 each, needs a combined income of P42,000 a month to be able to provide for their basic household needs. 
In the case of public school teachers, where the entry-level pay (Salary Grade 11) earns a gross income of P20,574, Cayetano noted that the amount even falls short of government’s own living wage standards, especially after regular deductions from their basic pay are factored in. 
It is for this reason that the returning senator and former Taguig City representative has been pushing for a substantial hike in the compensation of educators in basic education. 
Cayetano has filed Senate Bill No. 70, the’Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education Act’ among her priority measures in the 18th Congress. 
SBN 70 proposes a salary increase of P10,000 per month for public school teachers, locally-funded teachers, and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd). 
Under the bill, the P10,000 teachers wage hike will be granted in three tranches over the next three years, as follows: P4,000 per month on the first year, an additional P3,000 per month on the second year, and a final increment of P3,000 pesos per month, on the third year. 
On top of the salary adjustment, other benefits stipulated in the bill include medical allowance, a yearly bonus based on the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), and  additional compensation from local school board funds.
‘Considering their crucial role in society, teachers should receive an average pay that would allow them to keep up with decent living wage standards set by the government,’ said Cayetano. 
“The pay hike rightfully deserved by our teachers will improve their quality of life and motivate them to perform their tasks exceptionally,” she added. “Adequate pay and benefits should also encourage our best and brightest minds to enter the teaching profession as envisioned by our Constitution.”
While admitting that there are serious fiscal considerations in carrying out the measure, Cayetano said the level of pay matters when it comes to strengthening teacher competencies and the overall quality of teaching and learning in the basic education sector. 
As the former chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture, Cayetano has worked for the passage of numerous landmark laws to enhance public education in the country.
These include the National Teacher’s Day Act (RA 10743), Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or UniFAST Act (RA 10687), Open High School System Act (RA 10665), Open Distance Learning Act (RA 10650), Iskolar ng Bayan Act (RA 10648), and Ladderized Education Act (RA 10647). #

Senator Pia Cayetano: Teachers should receive an average pay that would allow them to keep up with decent living wage standards set by the government.

Pia files inclusive education bill for kids with special needs

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is affirming her commitment to work for the welfare of children with special needs and afford them the right to accessible quality education.

 The senator has filed the ‘Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act’ (Senate Bill No. 69) which seeks to establish inclusive learning resource centers for children and youth with special needs (CYSNs) in all public school divisions in the country.

“Children with disabilities have the same rights as any other child. They deserve access to a kind of education system where their special needs are attended to,” said Cayetano, principal author of RA 10070, which mandates the creation of Persons with Disability Office (PDAO) in every province, city, and municipality.

“They deserve to learn in an environment with compassion and understanding, and where they can grow as productive members of the community,” she added.

The proposed measure was first conceptualized by Cayetano, along with special education stakeholders, when she chaired the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture back in the 16th Congress. 

Citing records from the Department of Education (DepEd), Cayetano said majority of the country’s 5.5 million CYSNs have limited access to public education due to lack of accessibility features in schools, among other attitudinal and environmental factors.

“This bill aims to address and remove all these  barriers in our education system to allow CYSNs to participate in the regular school system,” the senator explained. 

Under SBN 69, the policy of inclusion shall be instituted in all public schools to provide CYSNs with equitable opportunities to educational services. Furthermore, the bill seeks to empower parents and family members of CYSNs with proper information and training.

All public school divisions of the DepED shall likewise establish an Inclusive Education Learning Resource Center that shall assist in promoting inclusive education to enable regular schools to handle the needs of CYSNs effectively.

The bill also proposes the formation of an Inter-Agency Coordinating Council on Inclusive Education (IACCIE), which is tasked to integrate and harmonize policies with regard to inclusive education.

Lastly, SBN 69 mandates the establishment of Child Development Centers (CDCs) near all schools or within existing Inclusive Education Learning Resource Centers. The CDCs will be specially designed for preschool children and their parents, where early identification of disabilities or special needs and intervention programs can be administered.#

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is greeted with a waving of hands by hearing impaired youth during a sports clinic for the differently abled in Taguig City earlier this year.
“This bill aims to address and remove all barriers to allow CYSNs (Children and Youth with Special Needs) to participate in the regular school system.”

Pia files ‘Build, Build, Build for Education’ Bill

Following the economy’s gains from the government’s accelerated infrastructure program, also known as ‘Build, Build, Build,’ Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for a similar initiative to fast-track the progress of quality tertiary education in the country. 

Cayetano has filed the Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act, which she called the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program for Education Bill.

The yet-to-be-numbered bill maps out a five-year priority infrastructure plan, with a fixed budget of P10 billion, for the improvement of facilities in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). 

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be tasked to identify the priority infrastructure projects based on the needs of the 112 SUCs across the country.

Cayetano said the government has made notable strides towards giving Filipinos better access to education, especially with the passage the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act that grants free tuition to students in SUCs.

However, she lamented that while students have been accorded free tuition, a great number of SUCs in the country still “grieve for educational infrastructure.” 

“Thus, there is a need to enact a law ensuring that the facilities made available to students are well-equipped and of high quality,” said Cayetano. 

“Classrooms remain overcrowded and hallways are still being used as classrooms in many SUCs. There is also a shortage of Science and Computer laboratories. These conditions are not optimal for learning and likewise for teaching. Poor educational infrastructure impedes the intellectual growth and health of the youth,” she added. 

Cayetano said the bill was a fulfillment of her campaign promise to push for a measure that would allow Filipino graduates to be more globally competitive and job-ready. 

The bill is expected to boost the country’s efforts to ensure quality higher learning and upgrade its education facilities by 2030 under its Sustainable Development Goals. It also seeks to help the government meet its objectives under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, particularly on improving the quality of higher and technical education for global competitiveness. 

Other education measures that the senator has filed so far in the 18th Congress include the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Bill, Educational Roadmap Bill, as well as the measure providing for additional support and compensation for educators in Basic Education. 

The former chairperson of the Senate Education Committee, Cayetano authored laws in previous Congresses promoting the welfare of Filipino students, namely the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or Unifast Act (Republic Act 10687), Iskolar ng Bayan Act (Republic Act 10648), Ladderized Education Act (RA 10647), Open Distance Learning Act (RA 10650), and Open High School System Act (RA 10665). #

File photo: Then Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano (in blue) sits down with students of Pangasinan Sate University in San Carlos City.

Pia files first 10 bills in support of PH development goals

Returning senator Pia S. Cayetano has filed her first 10 bills in the Senate with the aim of fulfilling her campaign promise to champion legislation that will help achieve the country’s development goals. 

Her proposed measures, Cayetano stressed, are anchored on the government’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations (UN) Member-States, including the Philippines, in 2015.

The PDP 2017-2022 is the first medium-term plan launched by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) under the Duterte administration, leading to a vision known as “AmBisyon Natin 2040,” where Filipino families are seen to enjoy a “strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life” in 25 years.

The SDGs, meanwhile, are a collection of 17 global goals set by the UN General Assembly, with strategies geared towards improving health and education, reducing inequality, spurring economic growth, and addressing climate change.
In line with these goals, Cayetano filed her first batch of bills in the Senate and plans to file more measures in the coming weeks to address challenges hindering sustainable and inclusive growth for the country. 

Furthermore, she vowed to continue focusing on her long-time advocacies as a legislator, including education, health, women and family welfare, and sustainable communities.

Among Cayetano’s priority measures are:

1. Alternative Child Care Code of the Philippines 

2. Educational Roadmap Act 

3. Priority Health Infrastructure Act (Build, Build, Build for Health)

4. Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act (Build, Build, Build for Education)

5. Sustainable Cities and Communities Act

6. Sustainable Transportation Act

7. Act Recognizing the Foreign Decree of Termination of Marriage

8. Amendments to the Family Code of the Philippines (to ensure the equality of men and women under the laws of marriage and family relations) 

9. Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Act

10. Act Providing for Additional Support and Compensation for Educators in Basic Education (Teachers salary increase)


“We already have a set of goals that we envision for future generations of Filipinos. What we need is a comprehensive action plan to ensure that our goals will be met,” Cayetano said.

“For my part, I will continue what I started since my first term as a legislator and push for more laws to empower Filipinos through education, proper healthcare services, children and family welfare policies, and sustainable development,” the senator concluded.#

Let’s make our graduates job-ready – Pia

In line with this year’s celebration of Labor Day, Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano vowed to continue fighting for measures that will improve the quality of education in the country and make Filipino graduates job-ready. 

The congresswoman was in San Fernando Pampanga on Wednesday (May 1) to attend the 117th Labor Day Celebration spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

During her speech, Cayetano stressed the importance of allocating more budget for the improvement of the Philippine education system in order to prepare young Filipinos to be competitive members of the workforce.

“I will continue to fight for us to put in more budget for education because the demands that will be put on our labor force will be very high,” she said, particularly stressing Central Luzon’s great potential to be a center of economic growth in the country, owing to the region’s continued infrastructure developments.

On this note, Cayetano said the government and the private sector should work together to ensure that the youth are ready to take on the challenge of meeting the demands of booming industries.

“We already have free tertiary education. But the question is, how well does our quality of education compare to our Asian neighbors,” she noted.

“That is where my education advocacy comes in, because free education alone is not enough. It is our collective responsibility to help young people get the opportunities that they deserve,” she added.

The Taguig representative urged the Department of Education (DepEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), local government units (LGUs), and other concerned agencies to make sure that their Senior High School (SHS) Programs are really training students to be hireable.

She also pushed for the proper implementation of Republic Act 10687 or the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Act, of which she was an author.

“I am delighted that one of my laws has already been implemented, which is the UniFAST law. Through this, government can give up to P60,000 worth of financial assistance to poor and deserving students,” Cayetano said.

A known advocate of the youth sector in Congress, Cayetano authored more laws promoting the welfare of Filipino students, including the Iskolar ng Bayan Act (Republic Act 10648), Ladderized Education Act (RA 10647), Open Distance Learning Act (RA 10650), and Open High School System Act (RA 10665), among others. #

Senatoriable Pia S. Cayetano speaks before guests and officials present at the 117th Labor Day Celebration spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), held in San Fernando, Pampanga on Wednesday (May 1).

Pia seeks Congress oversight to assess education programs

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano on Monday (April 29) said she plans to use Congress’ oversight function to assess whether the country’s existing education programs are truly benefiting Filipino students.

“I want to make sure that every Filipino has access to education services, and that our current laws are implemented in a manner that is consistent with our legislative intent,” Cayetano said in an interview with reporters in Lanao del Norte.

Among the education measures Cayetano authored was Republic Act 10687 or the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST).

The law properly allocates government resources to ensure efficient distribution of financial assistance programs for Filipino students. It provides scholarships and loans to students based on certain qualifications.

The congresswoman said she particularly wants to find out whether enough students are benefiting from the said measure. 

“There are academically gifted students that deserve our support for their education. Those are all covered by the UniFAST law,” Cayetano noted.

“Kaya hihimayin ko ang batas na ito to be sure that it is being implemented in the way it was intended,” she added.

The senatorial candidate further expressed commitment to push for more education policies that could respond to the ever changing needs of Filipino students. 

“It is very important that we are willing to adjust and make the kind of changes necessary to meet our people’s needs,” Cayetano said.

“There’s so much to be done not just in lawmaking but in pushing for policies and more budget for the proper programs, to ensure that more deserving students are able to finish their studies,” she added.#

Senatoriable Pia Cayetano gets a warm in Lanao del Norte led by Governor Imelda ‘Angging’ Quibranza-Dimaporo, 1D Rep Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo and 2D Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo.