PASIG CITY, July 30, 2019 – To support the Department of Education (DepEd) in enhancing the reading, mathematical, and socio-emotional skills of at least two million learners in Regions V (Bicol) and VI (Western Visayas), the United States (U.S.) government launched today the Advancing Basic Education in the Philippines or the ABC+ project at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones lauded the project and extended her gratitude to its partner agency for helping the Department in ensuring that no Filipino learner is getting left behind: “We are thankful for the unwavering commitment of our partners, especially now that we are intent to pivot our focus from improving access to enhancing the quality of basic education in the country.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Charge d’Affaires John Law said in his remarks, “As a friend, partner, and ally, the United States remains committed to the quality of basic education for the benefit of all Filipinos.”  He noted that “with better access to education, citizens can make well-informed choices and have better opportunities.”

The approximately Php2 billion ($38.5 million) project shall boost DepEd systems in teachers’ professional development, materials development, and managing public funds for basic education. It shall also build the capacity of school teachers and administrators at the regional and local levels to ensure that improvements reach all schools in the target regions.

Also present in the launch were DepEd Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio, DepEd Undersecretary for Legislative Affairs, External Partnerships, and Project Management Service Tonisito Umali, and Assistant Secretary for Procurement and Administration Salvador Malana III who all acknowledged the important role of the project in the delivery of quality, accessible, relevant, and liberating basic education for all, especially in the areas of greatest need.

  • Miss Universe 2010 runner-up Venus Raj and Miss Philippines Earth 2019 Janelle Tee, together with beauty queens from the Miss Earth Foundation, led a reading session for early grade learners of Oranbo Elementary School as part of the launch of USAID's ABC+ Project at DepEd Central Office.

The project also seeks to work with local governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to leverage local resources to improve the quality of education.

Dr. Alberto Fenix Jr. of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Human Resources Development Foundation, also gave his statement of support during the launch: “The PCCI and its national network of business associations, chambers, enterprises, and schools (ACES) are fully supportive of this project which will better prepare our children for the world of work.”

As part of the launch, the project also held a read-along session with Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, Bicolana beauty queen Venus Raj, and Ms. Philippines Earth Janelle Tee with learners from Oranbo Elementary School.

ABC+ is implemented in partnership with RTI International, together with The Asia Foundation, SIL LEAD, and Florida State University.