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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Marcos names Angara as new DepEd chief, cites track record

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President Marcos named Senator Juan Edgardo Angara as the new Education Secretary, citing his track record of “championing significant educational reforms.”

“Senator Angara has an extensive legislative history since joining the Senate in 2013. His notable legislative achievements include the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education

Act and the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 (K to 12),” the Presidential Communications Office said on Tuesday.

Mr. Marcos earlier said he will appoint someone who can “bring up the test scores” in the country as he acknowledged that the DepEd portfolio entails “complicated.”

Angara, who said he accepts the “significant responsibility” with a profound sense of duty, will replace Vice President Sara Duterte after resigned from the Cabinet post on June 19.

“I am committed to working with all sectors of society, including my predecessor, Vice President Sara Duterte, to ensure that every Filipino child has access to quality education. I look forward to building upon her accomplishments,” Angara said.

The senator, whose term as senator ends in June 2025, obtained his Bachelor of Laws from UP Diliman and Masters of Laws from Harvard University.

His father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, was an educator who served as president of the University of the Philippines.

DepEd Undersecretary and spokesperson Michael Poa said the agency is looking forward to working with Angara.

“The DepEd community looks forward to working with the new leadership as we continue our relentless pursuit towards improving the quality of Basic Education in the country,” he said in a Viber message.

The Philippine Business for Education, a non-profit advocacy group, likewise lauded Mr. Marcos’ decision to appoint Angara.

“We laud the swift appointment which is crucial to ensure that there is no disruption in the education of our children, maintaining the continuity in the reforms that should be done in the educational system,” the group said.

But Teachers’ Dignity Coalition chairperson Benjo Basas lamented the appointment of another politician as DepEd chief.

“Politicians, in their minds, have considerations about politics and its divisiveness, as well as their election gains and victory…There are people critical of the performance of the politicians leading the programs of the Department of Education, which is truly neutral from politics,” Basas said in an interview on ANC.

Angara’s colleagues at the Upper Chamber, led by Senate President Francis Escudero, wished him well, considering the gargantuan task ahead.

“I have full confidence in his ability to lead the DepEd with excellence and integrity. His proven track record in legislative work, particularly in education reform, uniquely positions him to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Escudero said.

“I am confident that his integrity, long experience in government service, and his ability to think outside the box will be assets to the department he is about to lead,” said Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Speaker Martin Romualdez, for his part, said the House of Representatives is “eager to collaborate with (Angara) to realize our vision of ensuring every Filipino has access to quality education.”

House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro expressed hope that Angara will work toward addressing longstanding issues plaguing the education sector.

“We expect Secretary Angara to utilize his insights from EDCOM 2 (Second Congressional Commission on Education) to implement much-needed reforms in our education system. The crisis in education requires immediate and decisive action,” Castro said.

EdCom commissioner Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez said the education sector needs a leader who “intimately knows the ins and outs of our education system, and understands it from a finance and management perspective.”

“In this regard, Senator Angara is the right man for the job,” Benitez said.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections said Angara’s Senate seat will remain vacant until the 2025 midterm elections, or unless the chamber calls for special polls.

“Angara is on his second consecutive and last six-year term as senator. We will still only elect 12 senators in the 2025 elections,” Comelec chairman George Garcia said. With Ratziel San Juan and Rolando Ng III

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline Marcos picks Angara as new DepEd chief

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