Thursday, August 3, 2017

Duterte signed “Free Tuition Fee law” for all State Universities and Colleges- ₱100 billion Budget

“Free Tuition Fee law”  in the Philippines
[Free Tertiary Education] Free Tuition fee law in the Philippines

Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law for bottom 20% poor but deserving Filipino students

- Free tuition fee for all state colleges and universities
- Free Library access
- Free  ID
- Free laboratory access

President Duterte has signed into law the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which grants free tuition to all state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.

This despite the suggestion of a veto by Budget Secretary Ben Diokno as the government cannot afford to shoulder its cost estimated to be around ₱100 billion.

During the Mindanao Hour press briefing Friday morning, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the President signed the bill Thursday night.

“The enrolled bill came to the Office of the President nearly 30 days ago and during that period, there had been a lot of discussions and study about the bill because of its heavy budgetary implication” he explained.

Guevarra said that free tertiary education in SUCs is a very strong pillar or cornerstone of Duterte’s social development policy and that the President was still trying to figure out the best possible solution regarding the bill.

“So we weighed everything and came to the conclusion that the long-term benefits that will be derived from a well-developed tertiary education on the part of the citizenry will definitely outweigh any short-term budgetary challenges,” he said.

The Palace official also said that whether or not economic managers are for the passing of the bill, the more important thing now is to find the budgetary allocation for the program.

“Everyone, including the economic managers, will have to focus their attention on funding for this program because this will have to be implemented soon,” Guevarra said, adding that the SUC law will be implemented on the next school year.

Since the government has already submitted the proposed 2018 national budget to Congress, Guevarra said that certain adjustments can still be made so allocation for the law can be made.

“That is really the principal responsibility of Congress when they deliberate on the budget. Right now, I have nothing very specific to say about which projects or which programs or which agency’s proposed budget might be affected,” he said.

“If Congress is really serious in finding the appropriate funding for this free tuition program, they will have to find the necessary sources for this particular program,” he added.

Guevarra also addressed the estimate of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that ₱ 100 billion would be needed to implement the SUC law.

“The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) thinks otherwise. The ₱ 100-billion estimate of the DBM seems to be on the very high side because that is on the basis on the assumption that all aspects of the free tuition bill will be implemented all at the same time,” he said.

The CHED estimated that ₱ 34.1 billion would be needed for the implementation of the law.

According to Guevarra, the government would only have to spend on the mandatory provisions of the bill which includes tuition and miscellaneous fees which would need around ₱ 16 billion.

Education System in the Philippines
Diagram of educational system in the Philippines - wes.org

The related educational expenses like books and boarding would be shouldered for “deserving 20 percent” by the CHED’s Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) program.

“As far as I know those are the only mandatory provisions of the bill for now – the free tuition and other fees. Other fees would refer to something like library fees, ID fees, laboratory fees, and stuff like that,” Guevarra explained.

“Now as to the subsidy for related educational expenses, that is something to be processed by the UniFAST board which is supposed to have a system of priority,” he said, adding that the fund and system under the UniFAST are yet to be established.

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Grade scaling for the educational system in the Philippines vs USA Education System - wes.org

“In other words, ‘yung mga talagang nangangailangan, the bottom 20 percent, will be prioritized in terms of subsidy for educational-related expenses,” he added.

The UniFAST rationalizes the allocation, utilization and client-targeting of government resources and improves access to quality higher and technical education for those who need it.

It also serves as the ultimate national human resource development mechanism and strategy that will direct beneficiaries to priority courses needed for economic growth and development. - By Argyll Cyrus Geducos from Manila Bulletin

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is the Philippines raising the next Football Hero like Paulino Alcántara?


Paulino Alcántara vs Leonel Messi
Filipino Football Hero Paulino Alcántara's record in football remain unbroken by Lionel Messi more appearances. Photo: Pinterest.com

When will the Philippines find their new Paulino Alcántara?

When will the Philippines find their new Paulino Alcántara? The half-Filipino, half Spanish football hero that set records at FC Barcelona that only Lionel Messi can break.

The Iloilo-born net breaker set goal scoring record in FC Barcelona with 369 goals in 357 games that stood for many years before he was overtaken by Leonel Messi on 16 March 2014.

His record as the youngest player to ever score for FC Barcelona in an official match at the age of 15 is still yet to be broken.

With the influx of half Filipinos in the Philippine National teams, and the newly formed Profesional Football League (PFL), there is a feeling that Alcántara will be found. However, the truth is that the new Alcantara will not be found abroad.

At this period of time, world-class Filipinos playing abroad will surely not be ready to represent the motherland because of the competitive edge and of course the financial reward they will have playing oversea.

David Alaba, for example, is a world-class player currently playing for Bayern Munich and Austria National Team. He holds Austria’s record as the youngest player to play for their senior national team, debuting for them in 2009 as a 17-year-old. His mother is a Filipina while his father is a Nigerian.

 Paulino Alcántara's Ful name, Birth Date, Place
Filipino Football Hero Paulino Alcántara's Ful name, Birth Date, Place and career. Photo: Soccergaming.com

The Philippines for sure will find the new Alcantara at home as football authorities have started to pay more attention to youth development.

The two summer youth football leagues (YFL and NCR) are over but were there new possible Alcántara scouted for the country’s development center during this period?

I read on Four Four Two about Shane Clemente, a young talented Filipino footballer who has already experienced Wembley and Old Trafford at the age of 12 saying:

“I want to play at FC Barcelona because that’s where Alcantara played” ” “He was known for breaking the net and I’m going to be known for breaking the net and the goalpost”.

This is one of the many talented young players at home that should be in the development center under the watchful eye of the Philippines Football Federation and I look forward to meeting this young talent to discuss how far he has gone with his football development. Read more at ROAR

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