Thomasian senatorial bets call for education reforms

UST alumni Angelo de Alban (left) and Florin Hilbay (Right) will be running in the midterm elections in 2019. PHOTOS GRABBED FROM ALBAN AND HILBAY’S FACEBOOK PAGES.

TWO THOMASIAN aspirants in the Senate for the 2019 midterm elections vowed to improve the quality of education in the country should they be elected.Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, an economics alumnus, and UST professor and lawyer Angelo de Alban filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last Oct. 16 and 17, respectively.

Hilbay said the quality of education in the country must be improved by reforming the books and the training of teachers.

“The goal now is not just to get free education but to get free quality education and the best way to do that is by improving the training of our teachers and the quality of our books,” he told the Varsitarian.

The 1999 Bar topnotcher added that he wants to focus on the country’s problems on extrajudicial killings and disinformation.

Hilbay became the country’s top lawyer in 2015 when he was appointed by then president Benigno Aquino III.

Prior to his appointment, he defended the Reproductive Health Law before the Supreme Court and handled the cases on the Disbursement Acceleration Program, Priority Development Assistance Fund, Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and Bangsamoro as a senior state solicitor.

He also became part of the legal team that defended the country’s rights to territory in 2016 over the disputed islands between the Philippines and China at the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal at the Hague in Netherlands.

As a professor, de Alban said he aims to establish a comprehensive education code that would set out the rights and obligations of teachers, students, school administration and government.

“We need more laws to protect and champion their rights as well as adequate budget side by side with full government support both on the schools offering special education and the teacher education institutions that are offering proper training of teachers,” de Alban told the Varsitarian, where he was once a Special Reports writer.

De Alban said he will focus on education, health, agriculture and housing if he is elected.

The Comelec opened the filing of COC for the 2019 midterm elections last Oct. 11 to 17.

Within the five-day filing period, 150 senatorial aspirants submitted their COC, a decline from the 172 aspirants who ran for a senatorial position in the 2016 polls.

Public office inexperience

Hilbay and de Alban, who are both running for public office for the first time, said they are not discouraged despite their inexperience in politics.

“I’ve never run for any public office but I felt that there is a need to do it and so I decided to put my hand to the political reach,” Hilbay said.

He added that it was a difficult decision to pursue public office because he was not part of any political clan.

For de Alban, this is an advantage as he is not yet influenced by the “rotten system.”

“I still keep my idealism intact. I am not too young to serve and I am not too old to be jaded that’s why I am in the best position right now to serve the public,” de Alban said.

He said he was urged to run due to the complaints of Filipinos on politicians which he described as “insensitive” and “callous” by being easily misled on the implementation of the Tax Reform and Inclusion (Train) law.

“I want to run for Senate so that the people will have ingenuine representation—someone who is qualified, competent and dedicated, ‘yong talagang mga galing sa kanila,” de Alban said.

Hilbay, on the other hand, was compelled by his peers who encouraged him to run.

“I think there is a need for me in the Senate [and] I think people need to have a wider range of choices and for quite some time now, some people have been egging me to run,” he said.

Comelec will review the list of candidates until Nov. 29 and the final list will be released in December. 


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