MANILA, Philippines – Businessman and philanthropist Washington SyCyp shared to ABS-CBN News Channel his thoughts on improving education, the diaspora of skilled workers, and the Aquino administration.
The proposal of President Benigno Aquino III (during his first State of the Nation Address) to expand the basic education cycle to the global standard of 12 years from the current 10 could work if subsidies to state colleges are reduced, according to SyCip. Students in state colleges who can actually afford the cost of tuition in exclusive schools should pay more, he explained.
Upon learning that 10 family members had gone to the University of the Philippines and paid tuition substantially less than what they could afford, he gave the school P10 million—one million for every SyCip who availed of state subsidy. He then asked other elite students to match the real cost of their children's education.
On migrant labor
"Rich people send money out, poor people remit money in. UP doctors are educated with public money. We should charge countries that receive doctors," SyCip pointed out.
He was lamenting the fact that, while the remittances from the overseas Filipino workers have helped cushion the local economy from major bumps, the exodus of professionals deprive the Philippines of the crucial skills and expertise.
For someone who gave up an opportunity to build a career in another country early into his adult life, SyCip knows whereof he speaks.
On the Aquino administration
SyCip has high hopes Aquino can turn the poverty situation around.
"I'm convinced that the President is clean. He can clean-up corruption, so the country can be much better," SyCip said. "I have full confidence in Noynoy.”
He also cited Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, a former managing partner of SGV. “He knows where the loopholes are."