By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Wednesday called on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to ensure the full release of the budget for Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES).
Aquino said that while he welcomes the CHED’s announcement that it will release the around P4.8-billion for its TES program, the allocated budget for its full implementation should be distributed immediately to student-beneficiaries in both public and private education institutions.
“I welcome the release of the said amount as it proves the administration’s commitment to implement the program under the law,” Aquino said in a statement.
Aquino is one of the authors of Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
CHED recently announced the release of P4.8-billion for the TES program under the free higher education law to students in 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) and 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs).
However, Aquino noted that the remaining P11.2-billion fund allocated for the TES in the 2018 budget should also be released immediately for the benefit of students under the program.
“Siguraduhin natin na ang buong budget na nakalaan para sa TES ay mailabas sa lalong madaling panahon, kasama na rito ang mga scholarship para sa mga estudyante ng (Let us be sure that the full budget for the TES would be released immediately, including the scholarship for the students in) private higher education institutions (HEIs),” he said.
Aquino recently convinced the CHED to issue a memorandum prohibiting state universities and colleges (SUCs) from charging mandatory fees.
During the CHED’s budget hearing, the lawmaker informed the commission that several SUCs still collect miscellaneous and other mandatory fees from students, despite the expressed prohibition under Republic Act No. 10931.
“Sana gawin nating New Year’s resolution ang 100 porsiyentong pagpapatupad ng libreng kolehiyo sa lahat ng state university at college (I hope we make as New Year’s resolution the 100 percent implementation of the free college law in all state universities,” Aquino said.
“Dapat hindi na maningil ang SUC ng tuition at mandatory fees sa mga estudyante ngayong 2019 (SUCs should no longer collect tuition and mandatory fees from the students in 2019),” he stressed.