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Nograles warns ‘bulakbol’ students benefiting from free tuition: Behave!

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Nograles warns ‘bulakbol’ students benefiting from free tuition: Behave!

House committee on appropriations chairman Karlo Nograles said Congress would exercise its oversight powers to ensure that the government’s free college tuition program would not be wasted on misbehaving or “bulakbol” students.

“Our state and local colleges and universities should not become Iskul Bukol even as we give free education to our students,” the Davao City congressman said in a statement.

“Through our oversight function, Congress would assist the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the participating educational institutions in making sure that deserving students or those who truly want to study will benefit from the free college tuition program. The funds we have set aside are simply too precious,” Nograles said.

Nograles panel realigned P40 billion from the current P3.767-trillion national budget to finance the free tuition program, under Republic Act (RA) No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

The landmark law, which institutionalized free state college education, was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August last year.

The beneficiaries include students from the country’s 114 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 16 Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) accredited by CHED and 122 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“The House may hold hearings after every semester to check on the implementation of RA 10931, particularly on how it is helping less fortunate families in getting their children to college. After all, this is the spirit of the law,” Nograles said.

Nograles said these policies will discourage recidivism from students, such as absenteeism, tardiness and cutting of classes.

“It will be another victory for the law if it eventually helps get rid of these bad habits from young Filipinos in the name of free college education,” he said.

Last month, CHED reported that it has already completed its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the free tuition program, which will be rolled out this 2018. While it has yet to be released, the IRR is expected to fine-tune details of RA 10931.

Nograles said CHED and other stakeholders may also use the House hearings to address the birth pangs of the implementation of the much-awaited program.

“We can’t expect this to be free of hitches especially during its first year of implementation, so close coordination between lawmakers, CHED and other stakeholders is vital. We can learn the problems and solve them as we go along,” he said.

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