Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Brian L. Goldbeck, Ceremonial Signing of the Bilateral Assistance Agreement for Basic Education

Friday, January 30, 2015

[As Prepared]

Secretary Luistro, Department of Education officials, partners, ladies and gentlemen:

Magandang hapon! (Good afternoon)

It is my pleasure to be with you today to witness the signing of the Bilateral Assistance Agreement for Basic Education between the Philippines and the United States of America.

As a former teacher, and the son of a teacher and school principal, I share your conviction that a quality basic education is the right of every child.

I am very pleased then to note that this Bilateral Assistance Agreement further supports the Government of the Philippines in its basic education reforms, which resulted in the 2013 signing of the “K to 12” law [Republic Act. 10533].

This momentous act further guarantees that every graduate of basic education shall be empowered with the foundation for lifelong learning and the capacity to transform one’s self and one’s community.

Partnership for Growth

A quality basic education is not only a right, but is the very foundation of a strong democracy and globally competitive economy.

A highly literate workforce that can compete globally and respond to the 21st century needs is paramount to accomplishing the goal of inclusive, broad-based and sustained economic growth of the Philippines.

This Bilateral Agreement is a reaffirmation of the bilateral “Partnership for Growth” and is an excellent example in which our countries work together towards the shared goal of broad-based, sustained and resilient economic growth.

Areas of Collaboration

In support of this goal, the bilateral agreement that was signed today will provide the framework for us to continue working together to promote a strong and effective basic education system.

In close collaboration with the Department of Education, the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implements basic education activities under this agreement to produce sustainable impact.

Activities under this agreement will continue to improve early grade reading outcomes, improve education governance at national and local levels, and increase access to quality education for vulnerable populations in conflict-affected areas.

Early Grade Reading

Early grade literacy is the first, and most important, step to a solid education. Reading is, without doubt, the foundation of all future learning and is the major determining factor of success in school.

Early grade reading competency is also critical for continued retention and success in future grades. Children who do not attain reading skills at the primary level are on a lifetime trajectory of limited education progress and therefore limited economic and developmental opportunity.

In close partnership with DepEd and various partners in the education sector, this bilateral agreement will continue to improve reading skills for one million Filipino children.

Education Governance

This agreement also supports activities that identify, support, and train local community leaders to take increased ownership of improving learning outcomes at their schools.

Together we will empower Mayors, train Local School Boards, and engage Parent Teacher Associations to prioritize quality education service delivery in their local planning.

OSY and Vulnerable Populations

Lastly, this bilateral agreement will provide learning opportunities for some of the country’s most vulnerable populations: out of school youth in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

Activities in this area will mitigate the effects of conflict and crisis by restoring education facilities and service delivery for out of school youth, providing meaningful and sustainable pathways towards employment, and restoring hope for a brighter future.


Shortly after taking office, President Obama predicted what has certainly come to be widely known, that “Education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century.” [June 4, 2009, Cairo University, Egypt.]

This bilateral agreement will sustain and reinvigorate our combined efforts to ensure that the Philippines continues its rise as a regional and global leader in this new century. It also symbolizes the continued partnership between our two great nations.

I am honored to witness this commitment and to celebrate our partnership to improving basic education in the Philippines.

Maraming salamat! (Thank you very much)

Issuing Country