Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Duterte signed “Free Tuition Fee law” for all State Universities and Colleges- ₱100 billion Budget

“Free Tuition Fee law”  in the Philippines
[Free Tertiary Education] Free Tuition fee law in the Philippines

Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law for bottom 20% poor but deserving Filipino students

- Free tuition fee for all state colleges and universities
- Free Library access
- Free  ID
- Free laboratory access

President Duterte has signed into law the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which grants free tuition to all state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.

This despite the suggestion of a veto by Budget Secretary Ben Diokno as the government cannot afford to shoulder its cost estimated to be around ₱100 billion.

During the Mindanao Hour press briefing Friday morning, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the President signed the bill Thursday night.

“The enrolled bill came to the Office of the President nearly 30 days ago and during that period, there had been a lot of discussions and study about the bill because of its heavy budgetary implication” he explained.

Guevarra said that free tertiary education in SUCs is a very strong pillar or cornerstone of Duterte’s social development policy and that the President was still trying to figure out the best possible solution regarding the bill.

“So we weighed everything and came to the conclusion that the long-term benefits that will be derived from a well-developed tertiary education on the part of the citizenry will definitely outweigh any short-term budgetary challenges,” he said.

The Palace official also said that whether or not economic managers are for the passing of the bill, the more important thing now is to find the budgetary allocation for the program.

“Everyone, including the economic managers, will have to focus their attention on funding for this program because this will have to be implemented soon,” Guevarra said, adding that the SUC law will be implemented on the next school year.

Since the government has already submitted the proposed 2018 national budget to Congress, Guevarra said that certain adjustments can still be made so allocation for the law can be made.

“That is really the principal responsibility of Congress when they deliberate on the budget. Right now, I have nothing very specific to say about which projects or which programs or which agency’s proposed budget might be affected,” he said.

“If Congress is really serious in finding the appropriate funding for this free tuition program, they will have to find the necessary sources for this particular program,” he added.

Guevarra also addressed the estimate of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that ₱ 100 billion would be needed to implement the SUC law.

“The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) thinks otherwise. The ₱ 100-billion estimate of the DBM seems to be on the very high side because that is on the basis on the assumption that all aspects of the free tuition bill will be implemented all at the same time,” he said.

The CHED estimated that ₱ 34.1 billion would be needed for the implementation of the law.

According to Guevarra, the government would only have to spend on the mandatory provisions of the bill which includes tuition and miscellaneous fees which would need around ₱ 16 billion.

Education System in the Philippines
Diagram of educational system in the Philippines - wes.org

The related educational expenses like books and boarding would be shouldered for “deserving 20 percent” by the CHED’s Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) program.

“As far as I know those are the only mandatory provisions of the bill for now – the free tuition and other fees. Other fees would refer to something like library fees, ID fees, laboratory fees, and stuff like that,” Guevarra explained.

“Now as to the subsidy for related educational expenses, that is something to be processed by the UniFAST board which is supposed to have a system of priority,” he said, adding that the fund and system under the UniFAST are yet to be established.

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Grade scaling for the educational system in the Philippines vs USA Education System - wes.org

“In other words, ‘yung mga talagang nangangailangan, the bottom 20 percent, will be prioritized in terms of subsidy for educational-related expenses,” he added.

The UniFAST rationalizes the allocation, utilization and client-targeting of government resources and improves access to quality higher and technical education for those who need it.

It also serves as the ultimate national human resource development mechanism and strategy that will direct beneficiaries to priority courses needed for economic growth and development. - By Argyll Cyrus Geducos from Manila Bulletin

First Batch of Qatari & Saudi investors Arrive the Philippines for Palawan, Visayas and Mindanao Million Dollar Projects

Qatari Investment in the Philippines
MOUs worth amounting to US$ 206 million were signed this afternoon between Qatari local companies and the Philippines Economic Zones Authority (PEZA) Photo: Asian Telegraph Qatai

1st batch of investors from Qatar, Mideast visit Philippines

The first batch of investors from Qatar and the Middle East has visited the Philippines to study the locations identified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) for investments in several sectors.

Peza director general Charito B Plaza posted on her Facebook page that investors from the Middle East “are ready” to invest on agro-industrial economic zones, including a 1,000-hectare area for poultry and vegetable crops.

Other projects, according to Plaza, include the development of five islands in the southern part of the Philippines where investors are planning to build a resort, retirement village, and other tourism destinations.

The first batch of Middle East investors is among the 13 companies that signed letters of intent (LoI) with Peza during Philippine President Rodrigo R Duterte’s state visit to Qatar in April.

Speaking to Gulf Times during Duterte’s Qatar visit, Plaza had said Mindanao would be home to most of the $206mn (P10.3bn) worth of investments Peza signed with Qatari investors. She said the investments are expected to generate 5,870 new jobs in the country.

The investments range from retirement village projects, hotel and tourism ecozones, IT services and digital marketing, ecozone management services, poultry and halal food processing, as well as agro-industrial farming, and hospital and medical tourism economic zones, among others.

Plaza said, “While waiting for the Peza board’s approval of their application, we can already start looking for areas and economic zones where the investors can establish their industries. Vast islands in Palawan, Mindanao, and the Visayas are awaiting development.” According to Plaza, Peza had achieved 64% of its $1bn target from its initiatives in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, which Duterte visited in April.

“Thanks to the good economic climate and favorable conditions of the Arab investment market, I am confident that Peza can easily exceed its $1bn target earmarked for the Middle East,” she pointed out.

She also said the Philippines would be an ideal distribution hub for Qatar in fields such as defense, manufacturing, and food processing due to its “strategic location” in Asia and the Pacific.

Plaza also emphasized on the need for economic zones with logistics hubs, seaports, and airports, which are under the helm of the Philippines’ Department of Transportation.

“These logistics hubs must have special economic zone services such as warehouses, cold storage, and container yards so that we have abundant facilities to stock goods while waiting for ships to arrive,” Plaza said. She added, “All types of economic zones can be built in the Philippines depending on the potential and the type of land. Agro-industrial, agro-forestry, paper making, aquamarine, eco-tourism, medical tourism, and export manufacturing remain to be the most popular.”

PEZA & Qatari Investors Sign MOUs of US $ 206 m Investments in Philippines Economic Zones

A number of Qatari business community members and their representatives had one to one detailed meeting with Chairman and accompanying members of Philippines Economic Zone Authority today.

On the sideline of President Duterte visit to Qatar, a number of MOUs worth amounting to US$ 206 million were signed this afternoon between Qatari local companies and the Philippines Economic Zones Authority (PEZA).

Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary (Minister) Department of Trade & Industry of Philippines was also present on the occasion and witnessed the MOU ceremony. On behalf of PEZA, Brig. Gen. Charito Booc Plaza, Director General PEZA signed the MOUs.

PEZA local representatives Joseph Rivera, Greg Loayon and Adel Sa’adeh assisted in organising the signing ceremony.

Philippines Trade minister and PEZA authorities are part of official delegation of President Rodrigo Duterte, who is on his official visit to State of Qatar.

Read more at Gulf Times and Asian Telegraph Qatar
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