MANILA - Philippine economic managers on Tuesday said funds are guaranteed for free college tuition despite Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno's statement that the program is unsustainable.
House Appropriations Committee Senior Vice Chair Rep. Stella Quimbo said the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) gave this assurance as lawmakers deliberated on the 2024 National Budget.
Diokno, as Finance Secretary, is a member of the DBCC.
"There is commitment from the DBCC that all those social protection programs will be at the very least maintained if not expanded in the future," Quimbo said, on behalf of the DBCC.
Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Paul Daza earlier sought assurance that the government will continue social protection programs.
"It helps many poor families in many poor areas I hope the Committee on Appropriations would not touch those budgets down the road can we get that assurance," Daza said.
Diokno earlier called for changes to the implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017, saying it was “unwieldy, inefficient, and wasteful" because more students are dropping out of school.
Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero de Vera meanwhile defended the free tuition for higher education, saying investing in the education of college students is the “best anti-poverty strategy,” and a way to produce highly skilled manpower.