/ 30 August 2021

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian filed a measure that seeks to stamp out illiteracy.

Senate Bill 2348 or the proposed National Literacy Council Act renames and strengthens the Literacy Coordinating Council established through Republic Act 7165 and seeks the formulation of a three-year roadmap to achieve zero illiteracy.

To achieve the goal of eradicating illiteracy, the measure synchronizes the implementation of the Alternative Learning System while mobilizing Local School Boards as the de facto local literacy councils.

ALS is a parallel learning system that provides a viable alternative to the existing formal instruction, which includes non-formal sources of knowledge and skills.

It also aims to raise the level of literacy to contribute to an individual’s sustainable future.

Under the bill, the Council’s technical secretariat will be transferred to the Bureau of Alternative Education for administrative and technical support.

The mobilization of LSBs also complements the implementation of Republic Act 11315 or the Community-Based Monitoring System Act.

The CBMS Act capacitates LGUs and communities in creating databases at the local level, which will provide useful information for the design, targeting, and impact monitoring of poverty reduction programs and development initiatives.

“Sa isinusulong nating panukalang batas, mahalaga ang magiging papel ng parehong ALS at ng ating mga lokal na pamahalaan upang makamit ang zero illiteracy sa ating bansa. Ang pag-abot ng zero illiteracy ang isa sa mga unang mahalagang hakbang upang matiyak na wala tayong kababayang mapagkakaitan ng magandang kinabukasan,” Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said.

The 2019 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey showed that six out of 100 Filipinos 5 years old and above are not basically literate.

This means 6 million Filipinos cannot read or write.