Congressman assures funds for free tuition

DAVAO CITY Rep. Karlo Nograles (center) with WVSU president Luis Sorolla (right) and PIA-6 regional director Janet Mesa in a press conference on Aug. 11, 2017 at WVSU Lapaz Campus. (Ricky D. Alejo)

THE House of Representatives is eyeing underutilized and unused budgets of some government agencies to fund the free education of students in state universities and colleges and vocational schools nationwide.

In a press conference Aug. 11, 2017 at West Visayas State Universty Lapaz Campus, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, House committee on appropriations chairperson, said the chamber is reviewing the spending patterns of government agencies and offices.

Nograles cited the newly created Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), which has unused funds of P2.7 billion in 2016 and P2.5 billion in 2017.

Another agency, the Department of Transportation, has unspent funds amounting to P33 billion in 2015 and P30 billion in 2016.

“Kesa masayang, p’wede itong gamitin para sa free higher education,” Nograles said.

Another possible scheme is the grouping of scholarships offered by national government agencies such as Departments of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Health, and Environment and Natural Resources; Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), SUCs, among others.

“Kung titipunin, aabot ang halaga ng scholarships sa P16 billion,” he said.

But Nograles said it cannot be determined yet if these amounts will be enough as CHEd is still in the process of determining the needed amount to fund the free college/TVET education.

Meanwhile, he assured that while the President pronounced he has no idea where to get the budget to fund the free college education, Nograles stressed: “We will not fail the President, and we will not fail the Filipino youth.”

“President Duterte signed it because he believes we have to invest in the future of our youth. Dapat edukado para mas mabilis makahanap ng trabaho,” he added.

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