ANGARA LENDS SUPPORT TO SPECIAL EDUCATION BILL

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, is set to sponsor the Special Education (SPED) Bill.

Senate Bill No. 3002, also filed as Committee Report no. 75, seeks to promote inclusive education in all public and private elementary and secondary schools in the Philippines.

The said bill was filed in substitution of Senate Bill Nos. 660, 907, 1155, 1157, 1161, 1816, 1912, 2198, 2234, 2510 and 2538, taking into consideration Senate Bill Nos. 40, 235, 390, 619, 810, 922, 965, 1273, 1427, 1889, 1979, and 2081, filed by Senators Ejercito-Estrada, Villar, Defensor-Santiago, Lapid, Revilla, Legarda, Recto, Trillanes, and Cayetano, P.

Senators Drilon and Marcos also join Angara as co-authors.

The SPED bill aims to provide quality and accessible education to children with special needs. It will offer holistic support in terms of financial, social, and medical assistance.

The bill covers children with intellectual disability; visual, orthopedic, hearing, or physical impairment; learning disabilities; speech defects; behavior problems; autism; and other health problems.

If passed, the bill will mandate the creation of one SPED Center in each school division, and at least three in large school divisions. Each center will then be equipped with the necessary resources and manpower to ensure support for students integrated in regular schools.

SBN. 3002 will also create a Bureau of Special Education, under the Department of Education. It will be supervised by the Secretary and tasked to formulate and administer appropriate curriculum and developmentally-suited programs to help children and youth with special needs achieve functional literacy.

According to the Department of Education (DepEd), there were 156,270 children with special needs enrolled in schools around the country in 2005, with only 2,149 schools offering special education programs.

Angara, former UP President and author of landmark education laws, will sponsor the bill on the floor once the Senate resumes session this November.

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