Students to get CHED aid instead of 'pork'

By Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 27 2014 04:06 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2014 12:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Instead of sourcing funds from the pork barrel of lawmakers, eligible students will now get college scholarships from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday it had given the go signal for the release of P1.05 billion to CHED for college scholarships nationwide, as well as for the implementation of the agency’s key projects.

The release was charged against CHED’s Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF) under the Special Account in the General Fund.

“This latest release to CHED not only boosts our efforts to expand the development of higher education in the country. In very practical terms, these funds will allow the government to provide ample financial support to promising students all over the country,” said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

“This means we’ll have more high school graduates proceeding to college and gaining the skill-sets necessary to their chosen careers.

“When the Aquino administration abolished the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund), we needed to find a way to ensure the government’s continuous aid to scholars who previously benefited from legislator-endorsed projects. We couldn’t simply halt the scholarships just because we struck out the PDAF from the national budget. The clear solution was to allocate the funds to CHED, so we could maintain tuition assistance to deserving college students in need,” he added.

Scholars from Region 4-A will get the biggest portion of the P484.8-million release with an allocation of P57.8 million.

Not far behind are the allocations for Regions 3 and 6 with P42.8 million and P40.6 million, respectively, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which got a P40-million appropriation in CHED scholarships.

“Having successfully brokered a peace deal with the Bangsamoro in January this year, the administration is determined to ramp up public service delivery in ARMM communities to fast-track their growth. Part of that drive is opening up more opportunities for Bangsamoro youth to complete their tertiary education, so they can look forward to a future of greater economic empowerment,” Abad said.