The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) faces the challenge of where to get the billions of pesos worth of funds needed for the free tuition of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).
This is after President Rodrigo Duterte’s signed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the Budget Department might request for a supplemental budget from Congress to fund the said program.
Diokno, however, noted that the program may not yet be implemented in full.
“Remember, not all universities are in full complement because of the K to 12, so there are still loopholes in the few freshmen and few sophomores so these things will normalize maybe after 3 years,” said Sec. Diokno.
This has also been the view of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in terms of funding.
“Maybe a 2 year or 3 year phase-in process, which means we will fund the most important which is the tuition fee, maybe on the 2nd year we can fund the miscellaneous fees and the 3rd year we can fund the subsidies,” Sen. Gatchalian said.
The amount needed to fully implement the Free Tuition Law will reach P25-billion.
In the next series of hearings on the proposed budget of the administration, the DBM expects that the number of students who might benefit from the new law would be clarified.
“We intend to maintain the current capacity, we cannot for example state college from 10,000 students it would be 50,000. That is not possible,” Diokno said.
But Senator Panfilo Lacson believes there is a fund in the national budget that can be used for the Free Tuition Law.
He cited as what was done in the 2017 budget where P8.3 billion from what he claims as pork allocation of congressmen went to the fund of Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
Lacson said this is what they also intend to do in the 2018 proposed national budget. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News and Rescue