January 12, 2018

MANILA – Students who are “malingerers” and “recidivist absentees” do not deserve free tuition, a Davao City representative stressed.

Karlo Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, urged Congress to ensure only well-deserving students are afforded free tuition in state colleges and universities (SUCs).

“Our state and local colleges and universities should not become Iskul Bukol even as we give free education to our students,” Nograles said.

A malingerer is someone who pretends or exaggerates incapacity or illness, while recidivist means habitual.

Through its oversight function, Congress could assist the Commission on Higher Education and participating educational institutions in making sure only “deserving students, or those who truly want to study,” benefit from the free college tuition program, he said.

“The funds we have set aside are simply too precious,” he stressed.

The House appropriations committee allocated at least P40 billion in the P3.767-trillion national budget to finance Republic Act (RA) 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2017, RA 10931 covers 114 SUCs, 16 CHED-accredited local universities and colleges, and 122 technical-vocational institutions under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“The House may hold hearings after every semester to check on the implementation of RA 10931, particularly on how it is helping less fortunate families in getting their children to college. After all, this is the spirit of the law,” Nograles said.

This might just discourage students from skipping classes, said the congressman.

“It will be another victory for the law if it eventually helps get rid of these bad habits from young Filipinos in the name of free college education,” said Nograles.

CHED announced in December 2017 that it has completed the implementing rules and regulations for free tuition law, which will be in full effect this year./PN


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