Poe backs use of PAL arrears payment to fund free tuition at SUCs
Sen. Grace Poe backed on Tuesday Malacañang’s pronouncement that the P6-billion paid by flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) to the government would be used to fund free tuition for students in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
“Given that the outstanding arrears of PAL amounts to P6.91 billion for navigational charges, I think that the settlement of P6 billion is acceptable,” Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, said in a statement. “The amount is actually more than what the government can substantiate with invoices, which is only P3.6 billion.”
“In addition, the money will go to a noble and much-needed govt program – that of free tuition for SUCs, the funding of which is an immediate concern,” she added.
In an interview over dzMM, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the amount could help support the government’s projects, including the tuition subsidy.
“The process in collecting P6 billion could have been long, but they chose to pay up,” Roque said. “And because of this a lot will benefit from it. The P billion would fund the tuition in all state universities and colleges.”
The settlement, Poe said, would also “prevent time lost on protracted litigation and allow both parties to save on expenses for legal fees.”
“The settlement expedites the collection proceedings and for me, this is a good compromise,” she added.
Last Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said PAL paid the government almost P6 billion to settle years worth of unpaid navigational fees.
Before the settlement, President Rodrigo Duterte had warned that he would shut down Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), which is exclusively used by PAL, if the airline would not settle its arrears. /atm
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