18 July 2006

What I would have Secretary Lapus say

YESTERDAY'S editorial in the Philippine Daily Inquirer refocuses the debate on the public education system as an "enterprise in crisis," resurrected by the recent appointment of Tarlac congressman Jesli Lapus as education secretary.

It pinned some hope on Lapus's avowed objective to generate more funds for the education sector out of the General Appropriations Act, as if more funding is enough to solve its problems. Of course, additional money will help, but it is only half of the solution: the other half lies on how it is actually put to good use.

What actually stands out from Secretary Lapus's three-point agenda is not what he said, but what he did not say. If funding is a problem, it will help if he trains his sight on the Special Education Fund (SEF) of the local government units, which is estimated to amount to more than P14 billion if fully collected, and that was around three years ago. As things stood at the time, only around 54% of the SEF was being collected, but at P7.8 billion, it is already four times bigger than the school building budget of the national government.

I am sure today's SEF is already significantly higher. For one, Naga's School Board budget this year, which started at P28 million in January, is expected to more than double due to rationalization of the city's comprehensive tax code. And whenever a local chief executive declares that the local government unit is strong, mainly because it is awash with cash parked in T-bills, you can be sure unspent SEF forms part of it.

Given this reality, what I would have Education Secretary-designate Jesli Lapus say is this:

"I will work with the financially capable, administratively able and willing city and provincial governments in progressively decentralizing public education to ensure the effective and efficient use of national and local education resources.

"Because at the end of the day, providing accessible quality basic education to all citizens is in the best interest of local communities. And public education is not only the obligation of the national government, but our shared responsibility with the local governments, the local business communities and grassroots-based stakeholders in our public schools."


senenebio said...

where's the kml? everlaid with other data layers like buildings, lot parcels, i'm sure you'll come up with version 2, 3, 4....

Willy B. Prilles, Jr. said...

I still have to learn that :)

What I meant with "overlaid" was: (1) convert the base map to jpeg; (2) manually overlay the jpeg to Google Earth; and (3) save the resulting image back to jpeg. Which is what you saw in my post.

I will do the KML when I find the time. There is more urgency to put my thoughts to words and a concrete image before I lose them.

senenebio said...

sorry about for the wrong post - dapat sa taas na blog...