by Kattryn Erryc Sayo
The conference was initiated with a prayer, followed by the discussion of the topics by selected panel members. The panel includes Catherine Innocencio (Assistant Department Head of the Committee on Education), Dr. Gregorio Quinto Jr. (Dep-Ed K to 12 coordinator of Bulacan), Sonny Cristobal (Provincial Tourism Officer), Michael Fermin (Board Member of Malolos), and Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando.
Catherine Innocencio, Assistant Department Head of the Committee on Education began the presentation proper by pointing out the scholarship program pioneered by Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado. The program entitled “Tulong pang-edukasyon… gabay ng bagong henerasyon” is divided into two types which are the academic scholarship program and the educational assistance program. With its P50 million scholarship fund, this agenda aims to help the financially unstable, as well as the academically-outstanding students residing in Bulacan. As of June 19, 2012, 8,464 students were able to avail the said scholarships.
After the scholarship subject, Dr. Gregorio Quinto Jr., the Dep-Ed K to 12 coordinator of Bulacan followed. Now that the K to 12 (Kindergarten to Grade 12) program is effective this school year, Quinto tackled the importance of the Enhanced Basic Education Program approved by the current administration, for the fact that the Philippines is said to be one of the few countries which has been left behind when it comes to the education system. He stated that the additional two years in high school will be focused on the desired course of a student, which includes the study of Science and Technology, Sports, Music and Arts, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Business and Entrepreneurship.
The last topic was introduced by the Provincial Tourism Officer, Sonny Cristobal. A video presentation was shown, which emphasized the 24K icons, characterizing the 24 prides of the 24 towns in Bulacan. With P5 million as the province’s tourism budget, the program discussed aims to focus on international tourism promotion. Also part of the project is to establish as well as maintain an excellent tourism in the province.
“The provincial government also plans to make Bulacan the Garden Capital, Business Center, and Industrial Capital of the Philippines,” said Cristobal.
Following the discussion proper was the question and answer, which allowed the press to ask certain panelists about issues related to the conference’s theme. Yet, only a limited number of questions was permitted due to lack of time.