House panel approves bail bill for indigent students – Manila Bulletin

Seeking to find other ways for underprivileged Filipino students to access college education, the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education on Monday, Nov. 14, approved a measure that would require the government to issue educational bonds for the benefit of underprivileged Filipino students.


Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda introduced House Bill (HB) No. 638, or the “Educational Bond for Tertiary Education Act,” which would mandate government-issued educational bonds through the Bureau of Treasury (BoT) and Department of Finance (DOF).

The bonds would be “in the name of each Filipino at birth, giving him unfinished entitlement to the proceeds of said security instrument at maturity,” the bill’s explanatory note states.

During deliberations chaired by Baguio City Lone District Representative Mark Go, Salceda asked the House panel to approve the bill, citing the success of a similar program in Canada.

“Can I appeal to the committee for immediate approval so it can be discussed in the room?” asked the veteran lawmaker.

“At least we will open that there are enough financial options and flexibilities available to the state to expand educational opportunities,” he added.

According to the bill, the number of educational bonds to be issued should be based on the annual average birth rate as officially reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The bonds would have a nominal value of 25,000 pesos with an 18-year maturity and a fixed interest rate.

The intended beneficiaries of the program are disadvantaged 18-year-old students.

It specifies that at the time of the expiry date of the voucher, the beneficiaries must be 18 years old and be enrolled in a non-degree post-secondary certificate or a degree course in a public or private technical-professional establishment or in a program leading to an undergraduate degree. at a state university or college, a local university or college, or a private institution of higher education.

Beneficiaries must also be part of the household included in poverty data under Republic Act No. 11315, or the “Community Monitoring System Act”, “or any other law establishing a system of monitoring and targeting of poor households which may be enacted in the future.”

Go, however, questioned the practicality of where the National Treasury can obtain the funds.

“If you look at our debts, our borrowings, some percent are actually bonds issued in the market and we are paying a lot of interest,” he said.

But Salceda argued that “bonds issued by the government accrue to itself.”

“If we don’t, do you want more poor people who will bring more poor people or do you want to cut the umbilical cord of poverty and lack of educational opportunities? he asked.

Go said his concern stems from the Philippines’ budget deficit due to its borrowing. Salceda refuted that the country will not need to release money until the 18th year.

Quezon 2nd District Representative David Suarez expressed concern that the funds would not be enough to cover books, accommodation and other miscellaneous items.

Calling Salceda “one of the champions of free higher education”, the chairman of the Commission for Higher Education (CHED), Popoy de Vera, expressed his support for his proposal “to end intergenerational poverty in Higher Education”.

However, he agreed that there are “several areas that need to be fleshed out, particularly on the calculation of the cost of higher education in 18 years, because the cost escalation in higher education is quite rapid in the world. case of the Philippines”.



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