DBM directive to affect free college education law – CHEd chair
MANILA, Philippines — State universities and colleges (SUCs) may be forced to collect tuition fees due to a directive of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) temporarily withholding the release of funds for some programs.
Commission Higher Education (CHEd) Chairman Prospero De Vera bared this Thursday during an online meeting of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.
De Vera said the circular issued by Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado, which orders agencies to tighten their belts and defer non-essential spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, would affect the implementation of Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
The circular states that 35 percent of the programmed funding under the 2020 national budget would not be released.
De Vera said that if this pushes through, CHEd will not be able to fully reimburse the tuition and miscellaneous fees of SUCs and not be able to release the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) money for 2020.
“Without this income, they (SUCs) will not be able to operate many programs that they are running or worse we may be forced to allow them to collect tuition so that they will have income,” De Vera said.
De Vera said they wrote a letter to DBM on Wednesday to explain their position regarding the matter.
“The allocation for RA 10931 insofar as reimbursement of tuition and miscellaneous and TES (tertiary education subsidy) should not be included in the 35% reduction in the budget,” De Vera said.
“Because this is not technically CHED money. This is money that goes through CHED so that they can be reimbursed to the SUCs or awarded to students as TES,” he added.
The move will not only affect the implementation of R.A. 10931 but mainly the SUCs, noted De Vera.
“This will constraint their ability to continue paying their job orders, their contractual, and to be able to complete the projects that they are implementing for this year,” the CHEd chairman said.
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