Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gordon’s ‘text-for-change’ bill gets more support

SENATOR Richard Gordon yesterday confirmed that he got more endorsements for his “text-for-change” bill designed to address the ballooning backlogs in the country’s education and health care systems.

Gordon, author of Senate Bill 2402, an Act Creating the Health and Education Acceleration Program (HEAP) Corporation, thanked Presidential Assistant for Education Mona Valisno for expressing support for the measure.

“All the support we could get is most welcome. We need to convince the telcos (telecommunications companies) not just to support our cause but also to actually take part in the improvement of the country’s education and health care systems,” he said.

At the end of the recent hearing on HEAP, Valisno congratulated Gordon for coming up with the said proposal. In an official letter, she also commended the senator for his initiative to improve basic education in the country.

“As we know, it is in the primary education that children develop their social and intellectual abilities, including skills in literacy and numeracy, not to mention the character traits needed in order to adapt to the dynamics of the time,” she added.

Those who had expressed support to the bill are Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Senator Edgardo Angara, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, the National Telecommunications Commission, the Departments of Education, Health, Science and Technology, and Finance, among others.

The three telecommunications giants -- Smart Communications, Globe Telecoms and Sun Cellular -- through their legal representatives, also agreed in principle to the proposal.

Organizations, such as the Philippine Dental Association, National Press Club, and Philippine Public School Teachers Association, also declared support to the said measure.

Moreover, the local governments of Albay; Norzagaray, Bulacan; and Buenavista, Bohol, all unanimously approved their respective resolutions expressing strong support for the immediate passage of the HEAP bill.

Valisno said the goal of HEAP is in consonance with the vision of the Philippine Main Education Highway, which is to ensure that every child is assured of opportunity to get high quality education that will make them whole persons and lead them to productive, well-paying jobs and become responsible citizens.

She suggested that the HEAP Corporation help the Department of Health in the implementation of the Alternative Learning and Accreditation Systems, to catch students who fall out of the education highway and bring them back to the academic stream giving them a second chance for acquiring quality education.

Under the HEAP proposal, telcos would remit a portion of their total revenues arising from local text messaging to the HEAP Corporation, which would spearhead the rehabilitation and improvement of health and education infrastructures in the country. By: Marlon Purificacion - Journal online

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