ILOILO Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. called for a total war on poverty and illiteracy in the province of Iloilo.
Defensor made the pronouncement during the consultation workshop for the Zero Extreme Poverty 2030 project of the Synergia, an organization that works to improve the quality of education, on Tuesday, November 22.
Defensor noted that poverty and illiteracy are intertwined and both need to be addressed at the same time.
Citing his real-life experience concerning his classmate in elementary many years ago, Defensor stressed that “illiteracy leads to poverty and poverty begets illiteracy.”
“It is not surprising therefore that the towns in Iloilo that figured the highest in poverty incidence, namely, Concepcion, Carles, Batad, San Dionisio and Lemery were also the same towns found to have the lowest survival rates in primary education,” Defensor said.
The governor, however, stressed that collective action is needed in order to succeed in the war against poverty and illiteracy.
“It is imperative that we, government, school, church, civil societies and communities work together and help in areas where we have competencies so that we can win this war,” Defensor said.
The Defensor administration annually allots substantial budget for the various programs to improve the quality of education in the province.
The province has a scholarship program for poor but deserving students dubbed “Iskolar sang Iloilo,” which is the brainchild of Defensor.
By the end of 2016, the province will have 50 teen centers covering all of the major public high schools in 43 local government units, including from island-barangays of Carles and Concepcion.
Defensor believes that the teen center could help empower and develop teenagers into productive individuals.
The province, through the Provincial School Board, also releases funds for various school projects, such as, repair and rehabilitation of classrooms and procurement of educational materials.
Defensor also acknowledged the help of Synergia, which implements the Education Governance Effectiveness Program in 22 municipalities.
“The profound impact of Synergia in educational reform is now widely-felt in the 22 municipalities,” Defensor said. (PR)