House Appropriations Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles today assured President Duterte that he no longer needs to worry about where to get the money that would be used to fund Republic Act 10931 also known as Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
“Makakatulog na ng mahimbing ang ating Pangulong Duterte. Together with the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission of Higher Education, we have achieved a breakthrough and managed to identify at least Php16 Billion funds that would be readily available in time for the first semester enrollment next year,” Nograles said.
Nograles added, “Right now we know we have 16B and we have a source for this. So we are now waiting for ched to give us the final number of students and the final budget needed – within the next 15 days we will have the numbers. So if it’s over the 16B mark that’s when we will consider sourcing from departments and agencies that are underspending or underperforming”
Nograles met with DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno, CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan and other CHED Commissioners and TESDA Secretary General Guiling Mamondiong Wednesday.
Nograles said that this Php16 Billion fund would come from various scholarships in various departments that can be pooled together and consolidated for the full implementation of the law. The various scholarships can be found in different State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), CHED, the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
This does not even include additional funds that may be carved out of underperforming and under-spending agencies, if needed.
“We will be consolidating all scholarship funds and spending them according to RA 10931 since this is the latest law that supersedes all other laws, and this law takes into consideration scholarships in SUCs, LUCs, TVIs and even private colleges and universities,” Nograles explained.
Nograles estimates that the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the free college education law will be finished within 15 days.
Nograles said that it was agreed during the meeting that CHED and TESDA must come up with an accurate figure on the number of students who would benefit from the free higher education law so that his panel can figure out how much is really needed to ensure its full implementation.
“We still need to come up with the total number of students who will benefit from this law, taking into account that for college next school year, there will be many seniors and freshmen coming in but fewer sophomores and juniors because of the K-12 program. This final number will determine magkano ba talaga kelangan. Is P16B enough or not?” Nograles said.
Nograles pointed out that the students who will benefit from the law will be coming from 114 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 16 Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) accredited by CHED and 122 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) under TESDA.
“What’s important right now is we know we have Php16 Billion and we have a source for this. If the required funding is over Php 16 Billion, that’s when we will consider sourcing from departments and agencies that are underspending or underperforming agencies,” Nograles said.