The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) contributed P15-billion to augment funds for state-led initiatives in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide economic relief to poor and vulnerable groups who are most affected by the economic fallout from this global health crisis.
“CHED’s contribution of P15,317,631,000 is one of the biggest, if not the biggest single agency support to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for the entire nation to raise funds to support mitigating strategies in responding to the present health crisis,” said CHED Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III.
De Vera said that this amount was from the unreleased appropriations of CHED on the following programs which are slow moving, difficult to implement because of the pandemic, or have been labelled “for later release” in the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and will no longer be released for the agency to contribute in responding to COVID-19:
- Development of standards of excellence for HEIs
- Establishment of basic e-library facilities in SUCs
- Financial assistance for post-graduate students
- Financial assistance for the enhancement of courses and programs to Social Work, Guidance Counseling and Psychology
- Funding requirements for the sustainable development goals and Futures Thinking Program
- Funding Requirements for Trainings and Programs to improve the quality of English in the Tertiary level
- A portion of the funding for assistance and incentives, scholarships and grants
- Renovation of Central Office Building
- Acquisition of Lot in Region IV-A
“The UAQTE funds for the reimbursement of 2nd semester tuition and miscellaneous fees and 2nd semester TES was also contributed by CHED to the COVID-19 relief fund because these will now be included in the 2021 GAA. All state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) are now using the new academic calendar and their 2nd semester for academic year 2020-2021 starts in January 2021. With this decision, the UAQTE will be implemented on a fiscal year instead of an academic year basis starting this September,” added De Vera.
Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” was enacted to declare a State of Public Health Emergency and authorize the President to exercise necessary powers to carry out urgent measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
De Vera said that CHED has also realigned funds from the remaining 2020 budget to assist SUCs produce COVID-19 related products such as alcohol/alcogel and personal protective equipment (PPEs) for distribution to frontliners and for their needs when the schools reopen in August; massive training program for faculty members to prepare for flexible learning; and technical assistance to improve connectivity in universities and colleges.
“CHED is continuously cooperating with the national government’s efforts to ensure the success of the whole-of-government mobilization of assets to overcome this present health crisis,” De Vera said.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education and UniFAST Board