Aug 8, 2017

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Nograles: Congress to find ways to fund free tuition act

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – “The challenge for the House of Representatives is how to find ways in funding the free tuition fees to state colleges and universities (SUCs) in the Philippines.”

So said Davao City First District Congressman Karlo Nograles after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 into law last August 3 this year.

“The law grants the underprivileged students a chance to avail free tuition to SUCs as part of Duterte’s social development policy,” the representative from Davao City said.

Nograles said the law will subsidize the education of students in SUCs, local tertiary schools and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda)-accredited institutions.

This is in connection with the approval of the said act by President Rodrigo Duterte where the government will shoulder the tuition fees, miscellaneous and all other mandatory fees of students in SUCS, local universities and colleges and state-run technical-vocational institutions.

Nograles admitted that it is the duty of the congress to seek for the funding of the act now that the proposed budget is already submitted to them.

“If we recall, around P8-billion was allocated by the Congress for the free tuition by the SUCs. Now that the bill was finally approved by President Duterte, we are coordinating with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on how much will it really cost to implement the new law. Their reply to us was about P16-billion nationwide,” he said.

The solon said that they will look into underspending agencies and underperforming government projects and try to divert their funds to augment the initial P8-billion budget.

He also added that he tasked the Committee on Appropriations where he is the chair to check into various scholarships given by different agencies allotted in the 2018 national budget like the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and will account them and unify the budget to include in the budget for the scholarship.

PHILIP OCAMPO