The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will fast-track the crafting of the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the newly signed SUCs Land Use Development and Infrastructure Plan (LUDIP) Act to prioritize students’ services and promote student mobility.
This is the statement of CHED Chairman Prospero E. De Vera III in response to the passage of Republic Act (RA) Number 11396 or “An Act Requiring State Universities And Colleges (SUCs) To Prepare And Implement A Land Use Development And Infrastructure Plan That Shall Include The Construction Of Dormitories for Students And Housing Sites For Employees” which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on August 22, 2019.
“On behalf of the CHED and the Philippine Higher Education sector, I would like to thank President Duterte for signing into law RA 11396 that will result in the drastic improvement of the quality of education in our country. We will craft the IRR immediately,” De Vera said.
Section 3 of the LUDIP Act states that “”All SUCs, through their governing boards, shall be required to prepare and implement a LUDIP designed to improve and optimally utilize their resources. All land use or infrastructure projects of the SUCs shall also be required to follow the LUDIP, which shall be linked with the land use plan and practice of the local government units to ensure complementation of activities across geographical boundaries.”
This passage of this law was spearheaded by the late AKO BICOL party list Representative Rodel M. Batocabe in the last Congress. Rep. Batocabe consistently raised the need to prioritize student services in the infrastructure program of SUCs and called for a system to ensure compliance with this proposal.
Since 2016, CHED has supported the call of the late Rep. Batocabe by urging SUCs to invest in student services, specifically in dormitories, libraries, student centers and similar infrastructure. The Commission has also required all SUCs to submit an inventory of their assets, including land use plans and physical framework plans so that capacity building programs can be initiated to assist SUCs. CHED data shows that the importance given by SUCs to this initiative is uneven across regions and SUC levels.
“Republic Act 10031 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act has made it easier for students to get into higher education institutions. Now, we need to invest in these facilities to make it easier for them to complete their education,” De Vera added.
De Vera also recognized the importance of the LUDIP Act in promoting student mobility.
“Many foreign students want to engage in short-term and long-term study in the Philippines, but they will only come here if our facilities are comparable and at par with those of other universities in the region. ASEAN Integration promotes student exchanges and we need to level-up to compete with our neighboring countries,” De Vera emphasized.
According to the CHED Chairman, better student facilities will also allow SUCs to rationalize their degree program offerings. Instead of offering every degree program in all campuses, SUCs can offer these only in selected campuses and students from far areas can stay in dormitories instead of having to travel long distances to attend their classes.
SUCs are now required to submit their LUDIP within two years. It is also a legal requirement for the approval of infrastructure projects implemented in any SUC unless the LUDIP has been implemented and submitted to the CHED.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education