THE DEPARTMENT of Education (DepEd) is not fully prepared for K to 12, and should suspend its implementation, according to two senatorial candidates.

In a forum at the Benavides Auditorium last March 1, senatorial candidates Susan “Toots” Ople, a UST alumna, and Roman Romulo agreed that K to 12 was necessary for the improvement of education in the country, but there were still “gaps” that needed to be filled.

Ople, who is running under the Nacionalista Party of businessman Manuel Villar Jr., said the masses should be informed about what the K to 12 basic education system is. “The K to 12 is necessary for the improvement of education here in the country, but there are still gaps. Madami pa tayong kulang,” Ople said.

For his part, Romulo, a congressman from Pasig who headed the House education committee, said: “K to 12 is a good concept. Unfortunately, hindi preparado ang DepEd para sa implementation nito ngayong taon. May lack of classrooms, facilities, equipment and teachers.”

Platforms

Ople said she would push for the passage of a Magna Carta of Students that would help empower students on issues like tuition increase. “If I’m elected, I will support it. [S]a Magna Carta, may students’ voice and prior consultations regarding sa increase ng fees and also dun sa redundant fees na iba-iba lang ‘yung tawag pero halos for the same purpose,” she said.

On the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, Romulo said all forms of discrimination should be removed first.

According to Ople, legalizing same-sex marriage in the country would be like “trying to move a mountain.”

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“Ang same-sex marriage, mahirap talagang ipasa. [P]ero ako, I would be very much in favor and I would be the one to support anti-discrimination against the LGBT community,” she said.

On the issue of divorce, Romulo said he would like to review the process of legal separation in the country. “Siguro ‘yung ibang mga provision ay pwede nating gawin na mas madali ‘yung proseso.”

Ople said women should be given access to legal help. “Lalo na ‘yung mga kababaihan na nasa most remote areas of the country. Kasi Pilipinas ito, kung sino ‘yung may access sa mahusay na abogado, kung sino ‘yung may pera, ‘yun yung madalas ba mananaig,” she said. “And it’s not just in divorce but in other court proceedings as well.”

Ople also vowed to build hospitals for overseas Filipino workers, provide assistance programs for human trafficking survivors and establish a department for migration and development.

She said she would fight labor contracting. “Sabi nila sa akin that’s an uphill battle, you’ll get the ire of the wealthiest business people. I don’t care. I only care that you—the generation that will succeed us—will get greater access to a basic labor right, which is security of tenure,” Ople said.

To attract more investors into the country, Romulo said he would ensure the implementation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, a law he authored. The act seeks to protect private data in information and communications systems in both the government and private sectors.

“Pinalawak po natin ‘yung pagkakataon na mag-setup po dito sa Pilipinas ang BPOs and call centers para may proteksyon po ang information na kanilang ipinapasok sa bansa,” he said.

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The forum, titled “I AM: Senatorial Forum 2016,” spearheaded by the Artlets Student Council, in partnership with the UP College of Arts and Letters Student Council and the De La Salle University Liberal Arts College Student Government, was held as part of celebrations marking the 120th founding anniversary of the Faculty of Arts and Letters. Mary Gillan Frances G. Ropero and Alhex Adrea M. Peralta

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