Ilocanos laud President Duterte, Senate for Php8-B budget to fund free tertiary tuition

LAOAG CITY — Ilocanos in this northern gateway of Luzon have lauded the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Senate for paving the way for free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) next year.

Reacting to the Php8.3-billion budget allocation to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to subsidize payment of tuition, Ilocanos expressed excitement that this latest development will give more opportunities for students to graduate in college.

For her part, Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos said, “I’m delighted that the national government is now discussing it, and the senators are discussing it.”

While the national government has yet to formulate concrete details as to the implementation of the “free tuition,” CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan noted that the allocation would be calibrated equitably, “in a way that those who need it more will get more.”

Marcos thus enumerated factors including the number of children in the family; educational attainment of family members; and marginalization which the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) will be “taking into consideration in our own poverty module, dahil dito, ang poverty testing ay kakaiba talaga.

“Yung mga may kakayahang magbayad, siyempre kailangang magbayad… Yung mga walang kakayahan talaga, siyempre iyon yung tututukan at tutulungan.”

For the second semester of Academic Year 2016-2017, the Ilocos Norte government is supporting a total of 1,487 scholars in the tertiary level through the Provincial Education Department (PED) and the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO).

The INYDO oversees 441 Sirib Academic Scholars, 200 Sirib Young Leadership Scholars, and 242 Sirib Community Leadership Scholars.

Meanwhile, the PED handles 474 technical-vocational scholars and 130 beneficiaries of the Asikaso ni Manang Imeetuition-for-work program which is geared towards students whose families and homes were struck by the super typhoon “Lawin” last October.

In her SOPA, the governor reassured Ilocanos, “Free college is possible, and all poor but deserving students can graduate!”