VIDEO: Speech of President Aquino at the launch of the K to 12 Basic Education Program (with ENGLISH TRANSLATION)

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

Talumpati
ng
Kagalang-galang Benigno S. Aquino III
Pangulo ng Pilipinas
Sa paglunsad ng K to 12 Basic Education Program

[Inihayag sa Rizal Ceremonial Hall, Palasyo ng Malakanyang, noong ika-24 ng Abril 2012

Good afternoon. Thank you. Please sit down.

Secretary Armin Luistro; Senator Ed Angara; Congressman Sonny Angara; Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco; Congressman Mel Sarmiento; Congressman Going Mercado; Congressman Mariano Piamonte; Secretary Dinky Soliman; Secretary Sonny Coloma; Secretary Joel Villanueva; Usec. Yolanda Quijano; Commissioner Nenalyn Defensor; former Congresswoman Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel; kindergarten, elementary, and high school students, and their respective teachers; friends from the business sector; friends from the international community and partner agencies; fellow workers in government; honored guests; mga minamahal ko pong kababayan:

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Can I apologize for being about thirty minutes late. We were discussing the Philippine Investment Plan to cover the years from 2011 to 2016, and these are the details of exactly where we’ll bring in or put in about five or over five trillion pesos. Since I will have to explain where each and every centavo will go to, I was asking them the pertinent questions and it dragged on and on. Actually, I will have to go back to that meeting right after this very momentous occasion.

And may I apologize to our international friends—as usual I’ll be delivering the speech in our national language. I apologize that you will have to read the hardcopy afterwards.

Siguro, maganda ho para mailagay natin ang ating sarili sa paksa nitong araw na ito, magkwento muna ako.

Mayroon po akong isang tiyo na typical na male. Mahilig hong manood ng sineng aksyon, giyera, et cetera. Nagkataon po na nagkaroon siya ng Home Theatre System—ito po’y panahon ng aking ina bilang pangulo—at ikinabit sa bahay. Iyong Home Theatre System po niya ay nakakabit rin doon sa kanilang garden dahil may nakita siya noong magbiyahe sa Amerika na tinatawag na garden speakers na mumurahin.

Ngayon, ang punto po nito konektado sa Home Theatre System niya. At kadalasan, dahil noong siya po ay bata, hindi pa ho uso iyong Home Theatre, tunay na theatre po ‘yung pinupuntahan niya, at saka cliff hanger—iyon bang papanoorin n’yo ‘yung isang episode nitong linggong ito, bumalik kayo after two weeks para sa next episode. [Laughter] So ‘yung Home Theatre po ay hindi niya ganap na alam para paandarin. Anak niya ang inaasahan para i-On at i-setup ‘yung kanyang papanoorin. Nagkataon po Sabado [siya] manonood at medyo gabi na po yata; nag-umpisa siya ng mga alas-11 ng gabi. Wala po ‘yung mga anak niya, gumigimik noong panahon na iyon. So buti na lang, alam naman po niya ‘yung “On” at saka ‘yung “Play.” E di naisaksak na po iyong sine ng giyera. Sa hindi inaasahang pagkakataon, hindi po niya alam na nakakonekta pala ‘yung mga speaker doon po sa garden. At siyempre, para maganda ‘yung sine, malakas. So nang nag-umpisa na hong nagsabugan, nagbarilan—panahon noon ng nanay ko, di may mga coup silang inaasahan—nagbukasan po lahat ng mga ilaw ng kanilang mga kapitbahay dahil akala may kudeta na namang nangyayari. [Laughter] Tsambang dumating ‘yung kanyang anak at sinabi, “Dad, ‘yung buong kapitbahay akala nagkakagulo na dito!” Tapos, doon lang niya nalaman. Pinatay na niya. Hindi ko malaman ngayon kung natapos niya ‘yung sine sa kahihiyan sa iskandalong ginawa niyang iyon. [Laughter

Siguro maganda, dagdagan ko pa ho ng kuwento:

Ako naman po, ang inabutan ko ng bata—ngayon po, kung may kailangan tayong kausapin na nasa Cebu, bunutin mo ‘yung cellphone mo, alam mo iyong number niya—segundo, kausap mo na. Tama ho ba? Noong bata ho ako, ibo-book n’yo iyong long distance. So, ang kailangan mo lang alam noon, ida-dial mo ‘yung number ng long distance operator, bibigay mo ‘yung number ng sinong gusto mong kausap, tapos tatawagan ka—place mo sa umaga—sa hapon, bibigay sa iyo ang kausap mo.

I think, I read somewhere, it was said that at the start, I believe, of the 20th century; the amount of knowledge that a person was expected to have could be contained in a Sunday edition of the New York Times. However, today, even with just entertainment, when you buy a Home Theatre System; you have to be able to set it up: positioning the speakers, putting in the parameters of the delay, understanding what HDMI means, and so on and so forth—and even getting your remote controls to “talk” to each other. [Laughter] I’m narrating this because I have a cabinet secretary whose old Home Theatre conked out and he decided to buy himself a new one and up to now he has yet to watch a single film ‘cause he’s still setting it up. [Laughter] That brings me to the topic at hand.

Ito po siguro ang punto ng atin pong kuwento: sa panahon po ngayong tinatawag na “knowledge” o “information age,” mas malawak na ang kaalaman na inaasahan sa karaniwang tao upang makapamuhay. Totoo pong dati, pag-dial mo nga ng telepono sa umaga para tumawag ng long distance, buwenas na kung makakausap mo ang gusto mong kausapin sa hapon. At noong panahon na iyon, masaya na po sila dahil noong araw po eh susulat ka, at ‘pag dumating ang sulat mo sa loob ng isang dekada sa kabilang dulo ng mundo, ikaw ay nagpapasalamat sa Diyos na nangyari iyon. Ngayon, mayroon na pong Skype. Tama ba, Skype? Kakaunti ho iyong tinatawagan ko sa abroad eh. Pero para makapag-Skype ka, kailangan alam mo kung ano ang pipindutin sa computer at paano mo ikokonekta ang telepono at iyong computer at makapasok sa internet. Dati nga po, linggo ang aabutin sa library para makakalap ng kaalaman. ‘Pag nagre-research kayo—literal—talagang iisa-isahin mo. At may kaunting dasal na natsambahan mo iyong libro na dadaanan mo kung ilang daang pahina na nandoon ang impormasyon na kailangan mo. Tama po ba? Ngayon po, Google search. May Google na. Pero may silbi lang po ito kung marunong ka ring gumamit ng keyboard at mag-log-on sa mga tamang website. At sana may kaalaman ka rin tangan para hindi ka binobola ng mga kalokohan na website.

Simula po sa araw na ito, mabibigyan na natin ang kabataan ng mas magandang pagkakataon upang matuto at makasagap ng kaalaman. Nagtitipon po tayo upang ilunsad ang isang programang magbabago sa sistemang pang-edukasyon ng bansa: ang K to 12 Basic Education Program.

‘Di po ba’t maikukumpara ang ten-year basic education program sa force-feeding? Bibigyan ka ng sampung taon upang isubo, nguyain, at ipasok sa iyong sistema ang mga leksyon. Wala pong pagkakataon ang kabataang namnamin ang kaalaman. Subo lang nang subo; subo lang nang subo. Ang resulta: hindi napoproseso nang mabuti ang impormasyon, hindi nabibigyan ng sapat na konteksto, hindi naipapaliwanag ang implikasyon sa kalakhang buhay ng Pilipino. Kaya nga minsan po, pasok sa isang tenga, labas sa kabila; ilang araw lang, nalimot na ang mga natutuhan.

Ang ipinangako po ng ating gobyerno: sa tuwid na daan, walang maiiwan. At sa pamamagitan po ng ating transpormasyon sa isang de-kalidad na edukasyon, inaabot natin ang kaunlarang para sa lahat—mahirap ka man o mayaman. Upang mailabas ang natatanging husay ng mag-aaral, bibigyan natin ng sapat na panahong matutuhan ng kabataan ang mga konsepto’t kakayahan, ang mga tamang kilos at kaugalian.

Minsan nga pong sinabi sa akin ng aking ama: “Once you have imbibed the knowledge, it is yours for life regardless of what happens to you in the future.” At totoo po: anumang karunungan ang ating matututuhan, kipkip na natin ito habambuhay. Sabi nga sa akin noong araw, “Sikat ka noong araw o sikat ka ngayon; bukas, laos ka na. Baka ngayo’y mayaman ka, bukas mahirap ka na.” Pero ‘pag natuto ka na, sa’yo na ‘yan habang buhay. Wala nang maaaring magnakaw nito sa atin. Ito po ang ating magiging kasangkapan sa pagharap sa mundo at pagdedesisyon at pakikilahok sa kalakhang lipunan, sa pagbabahagi ng ating sarili sa Diyos at sa kapwa tao.

Mantakin po ninyo: tayo na lamang—unique sa buong Asya— ang isa sa tatatlong bansa na lamang sa buong mundo ang may ten-year basic education cycle. Sa Asya sikat po tayo; tayong mag-isa. Sa buong mundo tatlo tayo. Iyong dalawa nasa Africa. Paano nga naman ba makikipagsabayan ang Pilipino, kung lugi na agad tayo sa bilang ng taon ng pag-aaral at sa lalim ng pagsasanay? Sa simula pa lang ay dehado na tayo. Ang gusto po natin, magkaroon ng matibay na pundasyon sa edukasyon ang mga susunod na henerasyon ng Pilipino.

Medyo ‘yung tingin ho sa akin ng ating choir na napakagaling kaninang kumanta—tuloy hindi kami napakanta—parang, “Maganda ba ‘yan, dagdag kaming dalawang taon?” Simple lang naman ho iyan: Kung parepareho kayong test na kukunin sa ating mga kalaban, sila may plus two years na talagang pinag-aralan. Kumbaga, katulad nitong speech na ‘to, babasahin ko ho, sinabi sa ‘kin ng teacher ko, “ You have one minute to read it.” O ‘di siyempre ganyan. Iyong kalaban ko ho na ite-test doon binigyan ng two minutes. Siguro naman iyong retention at comprehension mas mahusay si two minutes kaysa si one minute. O di ‘pag ganoong hindi parehas ang laban, talo ako kaagad. Siya may trabaho. Ako’y maghahanap ng ibang papasukan, at hindi tayo makapayag doon.

Naninindigan pa rin po tayo sa ipinangako nating pagbabago sa edukasyon: ang gawin itong sentral na estratehiya sa pamumuhunan sa pinakamahalaga nating yaman—ang mamamayang Pilipino. Sa K to 12, tiwala tayong mabibigyang-lakas si Juan dela Cruz upang mapaunlad—hindi lamang ang kanyang sarili at pamilya—kundi maging ang buong bansa.

Sa araw pong ito, humahakbang tayo pasulong sa pagkakamit ng pagbabago sa ating sistemang pang-edukasyon. Sa kabila nito, malinaw na malayo pa ang ating lalakbayin. Mulat po tayo na dahil sa transition phase, maaaring magkaroon ng mga antala, o sakripisyong kailangang pagdaanan ang mga mag-aaral at paaralan. Wala man pong perpektong solusyon sa lahat ng bagay, ang garantiya pong ibinibigay natin ay isang mas matibay na sistemang pang-edukasyon na pangmatagalan, at nakatuon sa kinabukasan ng ating mamamayan.

Kasabay po nito, patuloy pa nating pinupunan ang ilang mga kakulangan sa sektor ng edukasyon—mula sa pagpapatayo o pagkukumpuni ng mga silid-aralan at mga kagamitan sa eskwela, hanggang sa mga pagsasanay sa mga guro at pagbili ng mga libro. ‘Yung libro nga ho pala dito, hinahabol po natin na ‘yung ating reading materials ay magiging tablet based. Doon po sa henerasyon ko, hindi po tabletas ‘to [laughter], PC tablet ang pinag-uusapan para klaro lang ho. Dahil alam ho n’yo, ‘pag ho saka-sakaling may nahanap na error diyan; uutusan lang po n’ong kanyang server papalitan ‘yung impormasyon diyan. Hindi na po natin ire-recall ‘yung mga librong sangkaterba. At ginagawan na rin ho ng paraan na naka-lock in sa system para wala hong magnanakaw dito. Dulo po, mas madali na ho sa estudyante na kailangan rin naman talagang IT knowledgeable kung gagamitin natin ito. Hinihintay na lang natin, Bro. Armin, ‘yung pagbaba nang kaunti ng presyo at malapit na po sa target natin. Isasakatuparan natin ito sa pamamagitan ng inilaan nating 238.8 bilyong pisong budget para sa Department of Education ngayong 2012. [Applause] Tumaas po nang tatlumpong  bilyong piso ang naturan badyet dahil mataas na rin po last year at next year ho siguro patataasin pa ni Brother Armin. [Applause

Problema lang ho nandito si Joel at saka si Ms. Defensor ng CHED. Baka sila rin ho humirit ng pagtaas. [Laughter] Huwag naman po ninyong kunin lahat sa akin.

Siguro po matagal na nating napatunayan: hindi po lista sa hangin ang mga programa natin; ang binitawan nating salita, pagsusumikapan natin upang maghatid ng resulta. Kapag may ipinuhan ang pamahalaan, may balik itong magandang bunga para sa sambayanan.

Muli po akong nagpapasalamat sa bawat ahensiyang nakipagtulungan sa atin sa tuwid na daan upang marating ang araw na ito. Sa bumubuo ng DepEd, CHED, at TESDA, kasama na ang bawat indibidwal at grupong nakipagbayanihan upang mapagtagumpayan ito.

Sa atin naman pong mga kababayan: patuloy nawa kayong magtiwala at makiisa sa mga inisyatiba ng ating pong pamahalaan. Asahan naman po ninyo: patuloy ang gobyerno sa paglalatag ng pagbabago para sa isang mas maliwanag na kinabukasan sa sambayanang Pilipino.

Ako po’y hanggang dito na lang. Babalikan ko po ang iniwanan kong meeting. Magpapasalamat po ako sa inyong lahat at umpisa na ang pagbabago nating talagang pangmatagalan.

Magandang hapon po.



ENGLISH TRANSLATION

Speech
of
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the launch of the K to 12 Basic Education Program

[English translation of the speech delivered at Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace, Manila, April 24, 2012

Good afternoon. Thank you. Please sit down.

Secretary Armin Luistro; Senator Ed Angara; Congressman Sonny Angara; Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco; Congressman Mel Sarmiento; Congressman Going Mercado; Congressman Mariano Piamonte; Secretary Dinky Soliman; Secretary Sonny Coloma; Secretary Joel Villanueva; Usec. Yolanda Quijano; Commissioner Nenalyn Defensor; former Congresswoman Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel; kindergarten, elementary, and high school students, and their respective teachers; friends from the business sector; friends from the international community and partner agencies; fellow workers in government; honored guests; my beloved countrymen:

Good afternoon to all of you.

Can I apologize for being about thirty minutes late? We were discussing the Philippine Investment Plan to cover the years from 2011 to 2016, and these are the details of exactly where we’ll bring in or put in about five or over five trillion pesos. Since I will have to explain where each and every centavo will go to, I was asking them the pertinent questions and it dragged on and on. Actually, I will have to go back to that meeting right after this very momentous occasion.

And may I apologize to our international friends—as usual, I’ll be delivering the speech in our national language. I apologize that you will have to read the hardcopy afterwards.

To better put ourselves in today’s context, I think it is best that I tell you a story first.

I have an uncle who is the typical male—he likes action movies, war movies, et cetera. So he had a Home Theater System installed in his house—this was when my mother was President. And because on one of his trips to America he discovered that there were these cheap garden speakers, as they were called, he had those installed in his garden too, connected to the Home Theater System.

When my uncle was a boy, there were no Home Theater Systems then—he had to go to an actual theater house, and the shows there had these cliffhangers—that is, you would watch one episode this week, and then you had to go back two weeks later to watch the next episode. [Laughter

So my uncle did not really know how to use the Home Theater. He relied on his children to turn the system on and set up whatever it was he wanted to watch. One Saturday, he wanted to watch a movie, but it was kind of late already; he started around eleven in the evening. His children weren’t there; they were having their night out. Thankfully, my uncle at least knew how to press “On” and “Play.”

He fed this war movie into the system and started watching it. He must have forgotten that the speakers of the Home Theater were still connected to those in the garden. And, of course, when you watch a movie, it’s always much better when the volume is up really loud.

Remember that this was during my mother’s time, so they were expecting all these coups. So this action scene came on, along with the sounds of gunfight and these loud explosions, all the neighbors started turning on their lights, thinking that an actual coup was happening. [Laughter

His children came home then, and they were telling him, “Dad, the entire neighborhood thinks there’s something going on in here.” And that was when he figured out, and he immediately turned the system off. I do not know if he ever got to finish the movie, given his shame over the scandal he created that night. [Laughter

It might be better if I tell you another story:

So this was when I was a kid. Now, if we had to talk to someone in Cebu, you take out your cellphone, you know that person’s number, and in seconds, you’re talking with him. Right? When I was a kid, you had to book long-distance calls. So all you needed to know how to do back then was the number of long-distance operator, to whom you’d give the number of whoever it was you wanted to talk to, and you wait for the call back. If you’re waiting for the call in the morning, you get to talk to that person come afternoon.

I think, I read somewhere, it was said that at the start, I believe, of the 20th century; the amount of knowledge that a person was expected to have could be contained in a Sunday edition of the New York Times. However, today, even with just entertainment, when you buy a Home Theater System; you have to be able to set it up: positioning the speakers, putting in the parameters of the delay, understanding what HDMI means, and so on and so forth—and even getting your remote controls to “talk” to each other. [Laughter] I’m narrating this because I have a cabinet secretary whose old Home Theatre conked out and he decided to buy himself a new one and up to now he has yet to watch a single film because he was still setting it up. [Laughter] That brings me to the topic at hand.

This is probably the point of the stories: at this era we have named “information age,” the average person must be in possession of a wider range of knowledge just to live a satisfactory life. It is true that before, when you dialed the telephone in the morning to make a long-distance call, you’re lucky if you get to talk to the person you’re looking for by the afternoon. And back then, people were so happy to receive a reply to a letter from the other side of the world within a decade—you thanked God for that fortune. Now, we have Skype. Right, it’s Skype? I don’t call a lot of people overseas. To Skype, you have to know what buttons to press on your computer and you have to know how to connect your computer to the telephone so you can internet. Before, research would take you weeks in the library. And you literally had to go through all the material one by one. You’d also have to send up a little prayer to get the right hundred-pager book that contained the information you needed. Isn’t that right? Now, there’s Google Search. We have Google. But these technologies are only useful, provided that you know how to use a keyboard or how to log on to the pertinent websites. Hopefully, you also know how to sift the information; you have to be sure whether the sites you go to are credible.

From this day on, we can provide the youth with better opportunities to acquire information, to learn. We have gathered to launch a program that will change the education system of our country: the K to 12 Basic Education Program.

Can we not compare the 10-year basic education program to force-feeding? You are given ten years to take in, to chew on, and to digest the lessons. There is no time for the children to savor the knowledge they are receiving. You just keep feeding and feeding them. The result: information is not processed as well as it should be, context is not a given and thus not applied, and the implications on the greater majority of Filipinos are not explained. Which is why, sometimes, information enters one ear and exits the other; in a matter of days, what has been learned has been forgotten.

Our government has promised: no one will be left behind on the straight and righteous path. And through our transformation into improved quality education, there is progress for all—whether you are poor or rich. That we can display the skill and excellence of our youth, we will give our students ample time to learn concepts, understand their abilities, and recognize proper actions and conduct.

My father once told me: “Once you have imbibed the knowledge, it is yours for life regardless of what happens to you in the future.” And this is true: what wisdom we have gained, we keep that for as long we live. I have also been told, “You may have been famous then, or you may be famous now; tomorrow, you’re going to be old news. You may be rich now, but come tomorrow, you’d be poor.” But when you learn something, that is yours for life. No one can take that away from you. This knowledge will be with us as we face the world, as we make our decisions and as we take part in our society, and as we share ourselves with God and with our fellowmen.

Think about this: we are the only country in Asia, and among the three remaining countries in the entire world, that run a 10-year basic education cycle. We are unique in Asia and there are only three countries like us in the entire world—the two others are in Africa. How do we expect the Filipino to compete with the rest of the globe, if we are already disadvantaged by the number of years we spent in schools and the breadth and depth of our studying? The odds are stacked against us even before we begin. What we want are robust foundations to the education that future generations of Filipinos will receive.

The choir that sang so well a while ago—so, of course, we couldn’t sing along—is now looking at me askance: “Is that a good thing? That we’ll have to go through an additional two years?” But think about it: If we were to take the same test with our competitors overseas, they already have the advantage of having studied for two years longer. Just like if I were to read this speech, but had only a minute to read it beforehand—as against someone who had been given two minutes to read it. It won’t be a fair fight; I’d perform worse than the other guy.

The rival with this plus-two-years advantage then gets the job, and we will have to find other opportunities. We cannot let this happen.

We stand by our promise of reform in the education system: to turn this into the central strategy of investing in our most important asset—the Filipino people. We trust that with K to 12, Juan de la Cruz will be empowered to seek and attain progress not only for himself and for his family, but for the entire country.

On this day, we take a step forward in realizing systemic reform in education. But in light of this, it is still quite clear that there remains a long journey before us. We are aware that due to the transition phase, there may be delays and there may be sacrifices to be asked of the students and of our schools. There can never be a perfect, universal solution to our problems—but the guarantee we give you is a stronger education system for the long haul, one that is focused on the future of our nation.

Alongside this, we continue to address the problems the education sector faces—from building or renovating classrooms and fixing school utilities, to the training of our teachers and the acquisition of books. And by the way, we’re aiming to eventually have our reading materials tablet-based. To those from my generation, I’m not talking about tabletas. [Laughter] To be clear, I’m talking about PC tablets. Because in case we find errors in these materials, you just tell the servers to correct the information. We would need to recall hundreds of books. And we’re looking for ways for a lock-in in the system to prevent theft. Ultimately, it will be easier for the student, who will likewise become more IT-knowledgeable in the process. We are just waiting, Brother Armin, for the prices to go down, and as it is they’re already close to target.

We can do all these through the 238.8 billion-peso budget we have allocated to the Department of Education this 2012. [Applause] That’s more than a 30-billion-peso increase from the past year, and Brother Armin will probably increase this further for the next year. [Applause

However, your problem is Joel and Miss Defensor of CHED are present today, and they might ask increase in budget as well. [Laughter] Just please don’t take everything away from me.

We have long ago proven that our programs are not written on air; we strive to produce results from the promises we make. And the returns of every investment of this government go to the nation.

I once again thank the agencies that have helped us as we tread the straight and righteous path, that we may reach this day: to those who compose DepEd, CHED, and TESDA, along with every individual and the groups that have assisted us in attaining this victory.

And to our countrymen: may you continue to place your trust in us and stand in solidarity with this government’s initiatives. In turn, you can rely that this government will continue to institute the reforms necessary to fulfilling the brighter future of the Filipino nation.

This will be all for me. I have to return to that meeting I had abandoned. I, again, thank all of you. Today is the beginning of enduring change.

Thank you very much.
More info about K to 12 here.

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