By Ellson Quismorio | Manila Bulletin
If there’s one program that the UniTeam tandem of former senator Bongbong Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would want to resuscitate, it’s the CHED Scholarship Program or CSP.
“The UniTeam stands firm in its belief that investing in the education of our youth should be a priority. As such, the CSP is one program that we are keen on restarting if given the opportunity to serve by our people,” the UniTeam said in a statement Friday, March 11.
The remark was made in response to the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) recent announcement that applications for the CSP for incoming first-year college students for Academic Year (AY) 2022-2023 have been “temporarily” suspended.
The suspension is an “offshoot of budget inadequacy” in the Commission’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget for Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs), according to the statement posted on CHED’s social media sites last Feb. 21.
Even though the education department received the largest share of the P5.02-trillion national budget for 2022, at P788.52 billion, CHED’s allocation is only P31.68 billion, down from P50.51 billion last year.
Marcos and Mayor Duterte–who are running for president and vice president, respectively in the May 9 polls–also stressed the importance of sustaining the education of the CHED scholars because they have the potential to become experts and leaders in their respective fields.
“We need to invest more in the education of our youth, not less. Instead of them being the first in line to sacrifice in these budget cuts, let us make sure that we have adequate funding to sustain their studies because from their midst will come our future experts and leaders (of the country),” the survey frontrunners said,
“We remain committed to continuing President Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program. On top of this, we will implement a robust digital infrastructure program that would support the digital shift in education and commerce,” the UniTeam also stressed.
The CSP is a merit-based program intended for the underprivileged, homeless, persons with disabilities (PWDs), solo parents and their dependents, senior citizens, and indigenous people.
The financial assistance it provides covers tuition and other school fees. Also, stipends are given to the scholars directly or through the higher education institutions (HEIs) where they study.
CHED has yet to announce the total number of scholars who will be affected by the CSP’s suspension.