Gov Marcos lauds President, Senate for P8-B to free tertiary tuition

Dec 28, 2016 ...

Coinciding with Governor Imee R. Marcos' vision for Ilocos Norte to offer students free tuition in the tertiary level, the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte will be removing tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) next year.

"Ang pangarap ko bilang gobernador ay makapagbigay ng libreng college education," Gov. Marcos had said during her State of the Province Address (SOPA) last October 28, adding, "Yung tatay ko, si Presidente Ferdinand Marcos,ang unang nagbigay ng libreng high school. Sana naman, ako na anak niya ang makakapagbigay ng libreng kolehiyo!"

Reacting to the P8.3 billion budget allocation to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for the said subsidization, she replied, "I'm delighted that the national government is now discussing it, and the senators are discussing it."

"Free tuition fee, nagiging national issue," she added, quipping, "Nakakatuwa nga eh, binibiro ko nga sa kayabangan natin, ginagaya naman ang Ilocos ng National. Kahit probinsiya tayong maliit na malayo, pinapakinggan pala."

"Free education for all"

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."

"Sa mga Ilocano, napakahirap i-determine kung mahirap ba o hindi... parang ang galing magtago, eh, dahil somehow,may padala galing Hawaii‚ĒĀlast minute, mababayaran ang tuition," she expounded, "Somehow, gagawa ng paraan na makakaayos din ng bahay, kaya palpak din yung [poverty] testing tungkol sa bubong at sa banyo."

Gov. 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."

PGIN scholarships

For the second semester of Academic Year 2016-2017, PGIN 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).

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

"Sirib" is the Ilocano word for the Filipino "galing" and originated from Sirib Express, which had been the Governor's flagship program for the youth before it was developed into the Sirib Youth Office and later renamed INYDO.

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, Gov. Marcos had reassured Ilocanos, "Free college is possible, and all poor but deserving students can graduate!"

by Mizpah Grace Castro



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