Remarks by Chargé d'Affaires John C. Law, National Launch of ABC+ (Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines) Project

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

I am pleased to be part of this special occasion to mark this new partnership between our two countries to improve the quality of basic education in the Philippines.

Education is crucial for development—both for individuals and for the country as a whole. Quality education is not only a right, but the very foundation of a globally competitive economy. With a quality education, citizens can make well-informed choices and gain access to better opportunities.

The U.S. government’s close partnership with the Philippine government to invest in education has yielded significant success that we should all be proud of. Through our partnership, in the past six years, nearly four million school children now have better literacy and 25,000 vulnerable youth have greater ability to return to school or attain employment.

Recently, our two countries, represented by USAID and DepEd, have re-committed to improving education outcomes for Filipino children and youth through the signing of an extension of the Bilateral Assistance Agreement in Education to provide an additional 575 million pesos in funding. Together, we have made significant strides over the years by increasing access to education and expanding budgets that support education in the Philippines.

But even with these successes, there is still work to do. Students who go through the basic education system also need life skills that will prepare them for future academic and career success. There are also some 120 to 187 languages and dialects in the country, making teaching children to read and write a complex task.

Agreeing that we must further invest in youth so that they gain the skills they need to lead productive lives, the U.S. and Philippine governments sought to implement a new program that will help address these issues. Using a new approach for USAID/Philippines projects called co-design, USAID collaborated closely with DepEd, the private sector, and other education stakeholders to craft the strategies of this project that will advance the Philippine government’s education priorities.

Today, I am proud to announce the launching of Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines, or the ABC+ project, which will help improve basic education outcomes in literacy, numeracy, and socio-emotional learning for children from early childhood education through grade three.

Through this five year, 2 billion pesos project, the U.S. government, through USAID, will continue to support DepEd’s priority of ensuring access to quality education for children in some of the areas of greatest need. This project launch signals another step forward in our close partnership as we work relentlessly to provide Filipino children with the skills that are foundational to their growth and development.

I would like to acknowledge DepED, led by Secretary Briones, for the continued partnership. Our past endeavors have always enjoyed a high degree of ownership at the national, regional, and division levels of DepEd, thanks to your support and close collaboration.

I would also like to thank the private sector representatives here today for being our strategic partners in designing and sustaining relevant programs that invest in the precious human capital of this country.

Finally, I would also like to thank our local government partners present today. We look to you and to your leadership in bringing decision-making closer to the school level and making public policy more responsive to local needs, especially as you promote education initiatives at the local level, using local resources.

This is, of course, just the beginning. We have set out to achieve an ambitious target of reaching two million early-grade learners in the Bicol and Western Visayas region. But with your support and commitment, I am very confident that we can easily meet, if not exceed, the expectations of this undertaking.

As a friend, partner, and ally, the United States remains committed to strengthening the quality of basic education for the benefit of all Filipinos.

We look forward to continuing to support you in the Philippines’ development journey.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 10, 2019

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