At the Senate joint committees hearing on 1 March 2011 on various bills on education, including one seeking to institute guidelines and regulatory measures for local universities and colleges (LUCs) operating in the Philippines, Senator Bongbong Marcos said that while he welcomes the moves by the national government, through the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), to regulate these LUCs an exhaustive cataloguing and quality assessment of these LUCs should first be done in order to know the gravity of the situation about these LUCs.
Local universities and colleges (LUCs) are tertiary level educational institutions that are being established, maintained and operated by local government units from their own funds, by virtue of their powers under the Local Government Code. Being the creatures of these autonomous LGUs, these LUCs enjoy autonomy and are free from the regulatory ambit of CHED. Per latest count of the CHED, these LUCs have already ballooned to 93–only a handful short of the total number of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the country, which stands at 113.
Senator Marcos said that these efforts to regulate should not proceed with the premise that these LUCs are operating unwieldy and irresponsibly, but rather with an overall view of improving the delivery of educational services to the people.
He admitted that there indeed are existing LUCs that have been established as a purely commercial venture or worse as a political enterprise, lamenting that more often than not these are the ones that are performing poorly. Senator Bongbong maintained however that most of them have been created as “an honest response to a perceived need in the community in the field of education”. “We also have to identify those that have done a good job of providing quality education for their constituents”, he said. This way, the legislative efforts could go beyond regulation and, better yet, go even further up to enhancement of these LUCs, in the form of grant of incentives and even subsidies.