By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
The BBM-Sara UniTeam on Wednesday urged the Commission on Higher Education to defer the tuition fee increase it recently approved for 56 Higher Education Institutions for the academic year 2021-2022 amid the ongoing Covid19 pandemic.
Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, appealed for the suspension of the impending increase as this would negatively impact the financial situation of many Filipino families.
Meanwhile, vice-presidential aspirant Duterte has said senatorial candidates running under the UniTeam will have her unequivocal support once she is elected to office.
“As Vice President, I commit to help you, senators, in passing laws and in supporting our future President Bongbong Marcos in implementing them in the future,” Duterte said in a statement.
The BBM-Sara senatorial lineup is so far composed of former Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr., former senator Jinggoy Estrada, former Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, former Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda.
“We are appealing to CHED to consider suspending the scheduled increase. There are still a lot of families struggling even at this juncture of the pandemic. Allowing the hike in tuition and miscellaneous fees will be an added burden on families whose finances have not yet fully recovered. This may even lead them to stop sending their kids to school altogether,” the UniTeam said.
The team was reacting to a CHED memorandum dated December 6, 2021, stating among others that 56 private HEIs were given the go-ahead to increase their tuition and other school fees.
CHED has already released the said memo to its officials, regional offices, and presidents of private universities and colleges all over the country.
CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III said the approval for the increase was in line with CHED’s guidelines on the recalibration of Miscellaneous and Other School Fees (MOSF).
The current list was also based on the report of fifteen CHED Regional Offices (CHEDROs) and a Commission en Banc Resolution dated November 9, 2021.
“We understand that private education institutions also need to generate revenues to sustain their operation. However, we still need to consider the capacity of a student’s family to pay the added fees. Let’s consider the situation of those who are hard-pressed due to the pandemic,” the UniTeam added.
The CHED’s list also showed 14 HEIs from the National Capital Region (NCR) were allowed to increase their tuition and other school fees.
A breakdown of the CHED list showed the number of HEIs per region; Region 1 – (eight HEIs), Region III – (seven HEIs), Region IV – (three HEIs), Region V (five HEIs), Region VI (four HEIs), Region VII (one HEI), Region IX (one HEI), Region X (nine HEIs), Region XI (three HEIs), and CAR (one HEI).
Roque, a former congressman, said he intends to re-file 210 bills if he is elected as senator.
“When I was a congressman, I was able to pass 220 bills of national significance. Among them, only 10 were put into law because I was being appointed by PRRD halfway through my term to be his spokesperson. My first consideration once elected is to re-file 210 more bills for them to be put into law,” said Roque.
Roque said he promised the people of Maasim, Leyte that he would sponsor a supplemental budget to help those affected by Typhoon Odette.
“It is my promise to sponsor the supplemental budget not only for the everyday needs in terms of food, but also for the re-building of households and livelihoods that were lost during Typhoon Odette,” he said.
Roque said his priorities include the proper implementation of the PhilHealth processes, because “when we made certain investigations, it actually showed that there is rampant corruption inside the PhilHealth.”
“There were a lot of unpaid claims of pneumonia and cataract. It is clear that corruption is still present that’s why we are really pushing to do our best to end it, and it is high time to establish the national health service to end the corruption in PhilHealth,” Roque said.
Roque’s plans, Mayor Sara said, “is music to my ears.”
“It is really music to my ears to hear all of your platform about fixing the PhilHealth system because it has always been one of the biggest problems that we are facing,” Duterte said.