Press Release
May 31, 2011


Early childhood development in the country will receive at least P1.5 billion in funding after the Senate passed the Early Years Act (Senate Bill No. 2802) yesterday on third and final reading.

This was three times the amount initially proposed, which Senator Edgardo J. Angara, the bill's sponsor, said was a clear show of support for the bill and the broader effort to promote early education among children from ages 0-6.

"It is heartening to see that my fellow legislators recognize the urgent need to provide free early education to our children. This movement is slowly getting the multisectoral support it needs to create an impact on our youth and our educational system," he said.

Under the Senate version of the Early Years Act, an annual funding of P500 million for the first five years will be sourced from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Additionally, an initial annual appropriation of P1 billion shall be earmarked for the operations of the Early Childhood Care and Development Council from the national budget.

Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, authored the original bill (Senate Bill No. 2567) seeking to amend the existing Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) system established in 2000.

The Early Years Act aims to transform existing day care centers into child development centers (CDC's) focused on learning, not only play.

"CDC's will be more than just about child-minding and childcare. They will include provisions on health, nutrition, early education and social development services for young children," Angara explained.

Early education, he added, is the key to ensuring that Filipino children are mentally, socially and psychologically ready to step into formal schooling.

"It is a sad fact that a huge number of students from Grades 1 to 3 drop out because they can't keep up with their classmates. Providing for their early education would solve this problem, as this would help them master basic skills and knowledge and prepare them for the demands of school," he said.

The Senate version of the Early Years Act will still go through a bicameral committee for reconciliation with the version of the House of Representatives, after which it will be sent to Malacañang for the president's signature.

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