MANILA The government may have limited resources, but the Duterte administration is committed to ensuring funding for Republic Act 10931 or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law, which makes tuition free in the country's over one hundred state universities and colleges (SUCs)
This according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who on Sunday said that the President's decision to sign RA 10931 in August 2017 shows how social services like education is a priority of his Administration.
"The President knew there would be challenges involved in making this law work... but I believe the President recognized then what we and generations of educators, academics, and policy makers have known for decades: only a nation with properly educated citizens can hope to aspire for greatness," said Nograles, who was one of the guest speakers in the three-day National Student Regents and Trustees Summit organized by the Commission on Higher Education and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Board.
As far as the government's commitment to providing resources for Republic Act 10931 is concerned, I believe the President's decision to sign the law speaks for itself. If there is a will, there is a wayand if anyone has shown the political will necessary to ensure the proper implementation of this law, it is the President," he said
Nograles, who is one of the co-authors of the RA 10931 and former chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations when it was passed, said he and his fellow legislators were aware that sourcing funds for the law would be a challenge given government's limited financial resources.
"At that time, I was the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, and I signed the measure well-aware that Congress would have to find the funds for the law. Did I think it would be impossible? No. Did I think it would be difficult? Yes," he added.
"But as someone intimately familiar with the workings of the budget, I knew we would be able to find the funds, if we wanted to. Ika nga, kung gusto, maraming paraan; kung ayaw, maraming dahilan," he said.
He said the government has found ways, saying that the administration was able to secure 40 billion pesos to fund the initiative in its first full year of implementation.
"This year the proposed budget for this is 51 billion pesos. In the years to come, this figure should be expected to grow, as the costs of education inevitably rise," he added.
Nograles called on attendees of the summit, which include student leaders and school administrators from SUCs, to work together to ensure that the free college tuition law meets its noble objectives.
"Making the free college tuition law truly work for more Filipinos is going to be a challenge for all the sectors involved. For government, the challenge is to generate revenue and find resources to fund this initiative; for school administrators, it is to ensure that these funds are used efficiently so that these are maximized; for its beneficiaries, the challenge is to work with administrators to ensure the smooth implementation of the lawand to make sure that the people's investment in your education redounds to the benefit of you, your family, and your country," he said. (PR)
Source: Philippine News Agency