Press Release
June 3, 2018

With nearly 4 million out-of-school youth:

Senator Sonny Angara has urged the government to target its educational assistance to the four million out-of-school children and youth in the country.

"While it's back to school for 28 million students, there are still some 3.8 million out-of-school children and youth out there who need government's assistance so they can have access to quality education. Nakalulungkot na milyun-milyon pa rin ang hindi nabibigyan ng pagkakataong makapag-aral na siyang susi para sa magandang kinabukasan ng kanilang pamilya," said Angara, a known advocate of educational reforms.

Based on the 2016 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, 3.8 million or one in every 10 Filipinos aged between 6 and 24 years is an out-of-school youth.

More than half of the total out of school youth belong to the poorest families.

Of the 3.8 million out-of-school youth, 87% were 16 to 24 years old, while only 8% were 12 to 15 years old, and only 5% percent were 6 to 11 years old.

Angara pointed out that the free elementary and high school system has helped widen the access to education for Filipino children. The Free High School Act was principally authored by his father, the late Senator Ed Angara.

"Laging ipinagmamalaki sa akin ng aking ama na simula elementarya hanggang graduate school ay wala ni isang sentimo siyang binayaran. Ito ang layunin niya--ang magpasa ng mga batas na magbibigay sa bawat Pilipino ng oportunidad makakuha ng libre at dekalidad na edukasyon--na atin namang ipagpapatuloy.

"Three decades after the Free High School Law, we have high hopes that we can replicate its benefits to help our youth finish college. Dapat ay siguruhin natin na 10 out of 10 na ang makapagtatapos simula elementarya hanggang kolehiyo," said Angara, one of the authors of the Free College Law.

To complement the free tuition in high school and college, Angara is pushing for student discount on books, school supplies, fares and other basic services to poor students.

Angara also pointed out that the Free College Law provides for allowance for books, supplies, transportation, room and board, and other education-related personal expenses of poor students.

"Ang pagbibigay ng libreng dekalidad na edukasyon ang pinakamalaking tulong na maibibigay natin sa bawat pamilyang Pilipino upang maiahon nila ang kanilang sarili mula sa kahirapan. Hindi na dapat maging hadlang ang malaking gastusin para sila ay makapagtapos sa pag-aaral," he said.

Aside from high cost of education, among the reasons for not attending school of the out-of-school youth are illness or disability and accessibility of school.

The senator is pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 1732 or the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs that seeks to widen the access to free quality education for those with disabilities or special health problems.

The bill aims to establish Inclusive Education Learning Resource Centers in every public school division in the country.

"All children with special needs should have the opportunity to learn and be developed in the most enhancing environment. It is our duty to provide them free, appropriate, and quality education that best meets their needs," said Angara, who co-authored and co-sponsored the measure.

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