The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) honored the late Senator Edgardo J. Angara (SEJA) during its 24th Founding Anniversary and Higher Education Week celebration last week.

During the Commission’s flag raising activity, CHED Officer-in-Charge J. Prospero E. De Vera, III in his opening remarks expressed his sympathies and paid tribute to the “Father of CHED” saying, “With a heavy heart, I mourn his sudden passing last Sunday morning from “an apparent heart attack”, as reported by his son, Sonny Angara on Facebook.”

The birth of CHED on May 18, 1994 was part of a broad agenda of reforms in the Philippine education system, which was formulated by the Congressional Commission on Education or what was called EDCOM in 1992.  The EDCOM was authored and chaired by Senate President Angara.

“We thus join the entire nation in mourning the loss of a great leader, statesman, lawyer, educator, banker, farmer, patron of the arts, public servant and most of all a visionary. No statesman of this generation has authored and implemented the wide range of far-reaching reforms that Senator Angara did in the Senate and we recognize that,” added De Vera.

The CHED-OIC also explained that the late SEJA was a “trailblazer in education reform”, championing the Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988 and the charters of TESDA and CHED that earned him the name “Mr. Education” in the Senate. “In his 23 years as Senator, he focused and revolutionized the education system, opening up new and exciting learning opportunities for students and faculty and expanding access to millions of underprivileged Filipinos whose right to education has been neglected over time.  As a true champion of the people’s right to education, his legacy will live on and will serve as an inspiration for many of us today in higher education, who strive to continue the work he has started,” exalts De Vera.

Meanwhile, Dr. De Vera also recognized the significant contributions of the late Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani that implemented the recommendations of the EDCOM and was the principal sponsor of the Bill that eventually became Republic Act 7722, creating the Commission on Higher Education.  He also lauded several CHED administrators that formed part of the 15-member technical panel of the EDCOM and were part of making history.