Marking the 24th Founding Anniversary of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Officer-in-Charge J. Prospero E. De Vera III on Friday said that the passage of Republic Act 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” (UAQTEA) should be considered as a major reform in the higher education sector and will go down in history as the biggest social justice legacy of the Duterte administration.
More than 700 tertiary education stakeholders attended the Nationwide Information Caravan on RA 10931 in Malolos City.
De Vera, who also serves as the Chair of the Governing Board of the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST), expressed this in front of more than 700 tertiary education stakeholders in Region III during the Nationwide Information Caravan on RA 10931 at the Hiyas Convention Center, Malolos, Bulacan.
“Noong ika-3 ng Agosto taong 2017, pinirmahan ng Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte ang Republic Act 10931. Ngayong Hunyo 2018, gagawa tayo ng ikalawang yugto ng ating makasaysayang hangarin sa higher education dahil sa 112 State Universities at Colleges o SUCs, at 78 Local Universities at Colleges o LUCs, wala nang babayarang tuition at standard miscellaneous fees,” De Vera said.
CHED Officer-In-Charge Popoy De Vera explains how RA 10931 is an investment in the higher education because educated Filipinos will always be an important asset of the country.
The CHED-OIC also emphasized the other three equally important programs of the landmark law: the Free Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for those enrolled in state-run Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs), the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) or grants-in-aid, and the national Student Loan Program (SLP). These programs are designed to enhance access and expand choices to quality tertiary education for all Filipino learners.
“We are making history because we want the future of this country to be better. Iyong investments sa higher education ngayon, pero ang balik niyan, mararamdaman natin sa hinaharap. If we invest in people, our growing population will become a very important asset of our country,” De Vera added.
Central Luzon is one of the regions with more than 20 SUCs and LUCs that will offer free quality tertiary education, namely:
- Aurora State College of Technology
- Bataan Peninsula State University
- Bulacan Agricultural State College
- Bulacan State University
- Central Luzon State University
- Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University
- Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology
- Pampanga State Agricultural University
- Philippine Merchant Marine Academy
- Ramon Magsaysay Technological University
- Tarlac College of Agriculture
- Tarlac State University
- Mabalacat College
- Baliuag Polytechnic College
- Bulacan Polytechnic College
- City College of Angeles
- City College of San Fernando, Pampanga
- Eduardo L. Joson Memorial College
- Guagua Community College
- Kolehiyo ng Guiguinto
- Kolehiyo ng Subic
- Limay Polytechnic College
- Norzagaray College
- Pambayang Dalubhasaan ng Marilao
- Polytechnic College of Botolan
- Polytechnic College of the City of Meycauayan
ESGP-PA beneficiaries/achievers recognized
Six honor student-beneficiaries of CHED and the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DWSD) Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) from Region III were also recognized during the event.
“Pinaparangalan namin ang ESGP-PA beneficiaries dahil dito mo makikita na hindi na dapat pagdebatehan kung kailangan nga bang ipatupad ang RA 10931. Sila ang mukha ng Free Public Higher Education. Twenty years from now, they will be a part of the trailblazers for a new and better Philippines,” De Vera said.
CHED Officer-In-Charge Popoy De Vera awards Certificates of Recognition to six student-beneficiaries of ESGP-PA program who have graduated with honors.
Student beneficiaries under the ESGP-PA come from poor but deserving students belonging to low-income households identified by DWSD. They must enroll in SUCs and take up priority programs aligned with the government’s identified key growth areas.
ESGP-PA recipient Kerwin Bañas, a Secondary Education graduate with honors from Aurora State College of Technology, delivered an emotional speech on behalf of his co-beneficiaries.
“Sa mga kapwa ko estudyante, may kasabihang opportunity knocks once. Pero huwag po nating tapusin doon. Dapat, kapag opportunity knocks once, do not just grab it, hold on to it. Ang opportunity, kapag kumatok sa iyo, huwag mo basta hawakan, huwag mo nang bitawan kasi kapag binitawan mo, sigurado sa dulo, kayo ang talo,” Bañas exclaimed.
Honor student Kerwin Bañas recalls how the ESGP-PA program of CHED and DSWD helped him in his finances while finishing his Secondary Education course.
In Region III alone, there are 49 ESGP-PA beneficiaries who have already graduated or expected to graduate with honors and/or receive leadership awards for Academic Year 2017-2018.