P6-B PAL payment to fund free tuition shows pro-people gov’t: solon

MANILA – Malacañang’s move to fund the government’s free college education program using the PHP6 billion settlement of flag carrier Philippine Airlines’ (PAL) demonstrates the Duterte administration’s pro-people initiatives, a House of Representatives leader said Tuesday.  

In a statement, House Appropriations Committee Chair Karlo Nograles said this also shows President Rodrigo Duterte’s commitment toward human development.  

“The Filipinos are indeed the most important thing to President Duterte. The same is claimed by a lot of politicians but Duterte proves it with action. Turning PAL’s debt settlement into instant free tuition fund for local and state universities and colleges is just one of these acts,” Nograles said. 

“President Duterte’s gesture is not just pro-people, it also proves that he is for human development,” he added. 

PAL turned over to the government two checks amounting to PHP5.936 billion for navigational charges.  

The Palace said that the money would be used to fund Republic Act (RA) 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which was signed by President Duterte last August.  

The law covers 114 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 16 Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) accredited by Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and 122 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). 

“The President knew that signing the law was the right thing to do. Setting aside the P6 billion for free tuition is just his follow through on a tough yet very laudable decision,” Nograles said.  

Nograles recalled that PHP40 billion was realigned from the proposed PHP3.767-trillion budget for 2018 to fund the free college education program.  

“Realigning funds for the implementation of RA 10931 was a welcome yet difficult challenge for the House of Representatives. Having almost P6 billion worth of standby funds for the program will make our jobs easier down the road,” he said. PNA-northboundasia.com