Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. said that the government can afford to fund the education of all students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) if education is truly a key priority under this administration.
In a speech before the ABAKADA Party List NCR/R Leaders Assembly held at the Lyceum of the Philippines last Sunday, November 15, the Senator noted that all the government has to do is to allot P15 billion for scholarships and grants-in-aid out of the over P2 trillion 2016 budget instead of constantly shaving the funds for SUCs.
The Senator further said that the government should have no problem including this in the budget noting that it is spending more than P10 billion in hosting the week-long APEC event.
“Palagay ko ay kaya nating gawin at mas marami ang matutulungan. Panahon na na ang lahat ng mga estudyanate ng lahat ng SUCs sa buong Pilipinas ay libre na ang pag aaral. Hindi ito suntok sa buwan. Pinag-aralan namin ang budget. P15 billion will pay for all the students for free tertiary education,” Marcos explained.
Marcos said that there is a need to implement a large scale scholarship/student aid program in the country and institutionalize reforms in the educational system.
“That is why we are looking at the budget and looking at what we can do for education. That is why I have been proposing these measures that some may see as radical but actually aren’t. These are the measures we need to push. These are the initiatives that we need to fight for,” Marcos asserted.
The Senator added that doing this would greatly benefit those who have the potential to succeed in life but are impeded by poverty and their inability to get an education supported by the SUCs.
For his part, ABAKADA Party List Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz welcomed Marcos’ statement and said that their group has been pushing the increase in funding not only for the growing college population in the country but those enrolled in ‘Tech/Voc’ schools as well.
“In addition, one of our initiatives has been the expansion of the student loan program to include more financial institutions to support the SUCs as this has been very effective based on the experience of the United States,” he said.
The Legislator also said that their group is also pushing the rationalization of the proliferation of locally funded colleges and universities to ensure that these are sustainable and meet the growing needs of the students in the tertiary level.