Angara’s ‘Panalo Edukasyon’ ad lacks info, misleads

Written by
University of the Philippines Journalism Department
Last modified
Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 02:15
Screengrab from Panalo Edukasyon TV ad

A campaign ad crediting LDP senatorial candidate Sonny Angara for helping make the free tuition scheme possible from kindergarten to tertiary education lacks context and tends to mislead.

In the 22-second paid ad aired on television and uploaded to Angara’s official Facebook page and official campaign website, singer Sarah Geronimo and students claimed:

Sarah Geronimo: Pero sa tulong ni Kuya Sonny Angara--
MOTS 1: Libreng tuition mula kinder hanggang college.
MOTS 2: Libreng allowance.
MOTS 3: Libre pati libro.

The ad, however, omits to mention that tuition and other school fees are free only in public schools.

Students in private schools made up 54 percent of total enrolment in higher education, 18 percent in high school, 9 percent in elementary and 12 percent in kindergarten in schoolyear 2016-17, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority show.

As well, Angara only had a hand in free public education for kindergarten and the tertiary level.

Primary education has long been free in public schools, starting with the issuance of the Educational Decree of 1863 by the Spanish colonial government. Primary instruction was limited, though.

The 1987 Constitution mandates free public education in both elementary and high school.  

Republic Act  6655, the Free Public Secondary Education Act, was passed in 1988 when Angara was 16.  The law co-authored by his father Edgardo provides for free high school education in public schools.   

The younger Angara was co-author of RA 10157, the Kindergarten Education Act of 2012, when he was a member of the House of Representatives. The law mandating  “free, mandatory and compulsory” kindergarten in public schools was sponsored by his father in the Senate.

In the Senate, he co-authored RA 10931, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017. Sen. Bam Aquino was principal sponsor of the measure, first filed by Sen. Ralph Recto.

Under RA 10931, tuition, miscellaneous and other fees defined by the law are free only for eligible undergraduate students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) recognized by the Commission on Higher Education.

Besides tuition, the following fees are free in these schools: library, computer, lab, school ID,  athletic, admission, development, guidance, handbook, entrance, guidance, medical/dental and cultural.

The law also provides free postsecondary technical-vocational education and training and related expenses such as living allowance, starter toolkit and accreditation cost, but only in state-run technical-vocational institutions.

While RA 10931 provides tertiary education subsidy to undergraduate students in both private and public schools, the assistance is limited and gives priority to students from poor families, including those on the most recently updated Listahanan.

Listahanan, or the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, “refers to the information management system of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that identifies who and where the poor are in the country.”

Geronimo also sang Edgardo Angara’s campaign jingle in the 2007 elections.

The ad, paid for by Angara and his party, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, has reached 2,106 interactions, 190 shares and 76,000 views on Facebook at the time of writing.


Alagang Angara | Angara For Senator. (n.d.). TVCs. Retrieved from

Commission on Higher Education. (2017). Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10931, known as the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017.” Retrieved from

Department of Education. (n.d.). Historical perspective of the Philippine educational system. Retrieved from

LDP. (2019, March 22). Panalo edukasyon [Video file]. Retrieved from

Philippine Statistical Authority. (2018). 2018 Philippine statistical yearbook [PDF version]. Retrieved from

Senate of the Philippines. (2011, March 25). Angara expresses support for kindergarten law [Press release]. Retrieved from

Senate of the Philippines. (2019, February 27).  Angara to college dropouts: Return to school, avail of free tertiary education [Press release].

Official Gazette. (1987). The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.  Retrieved from

Official Gazette. (1988). Free Public Secondary Education Act, RA 6655. Retrieved from

Official Gazette. (2012). Kindergarten Education Act, RA 10157. Retrieved from

Official Gazette. (2016) Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, RA 10931. Retrieved from


The views and information in ‘’ are those of their respective authors and owners and do not reflect the official policy or position of the media and academic partners of

Fact Checked By