HOUSE Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin has told the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to prioritize giving scholarships to students instead of using the funds for non-essential expenditures.
During the budget deliberations on Tuesday, Garin urged CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera III to provide the needs of the students, stressing that more funds must be allocated for the scholarship program.
“There’s a big difference between wants and needs. Maybe eto ‘yung checklist niyo pero mas kailangan siguro ng ating mga kabataan ngayon na mabayaran [ang tuition fees],” the House committee vice chairperson said.
“Bilyon bilyon ang ginagamit natin dito sa mga paggawa ng guidelines, biyahe, bisita, research kunyari, pang-evaluate ng performance. Do we really need this huge expense?” she added.
Garin further said that CHED may collaborate with other agencies on programs such as the Integration of Natural Green and Renewable Energy towards sustainable schools, citing that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Energy (DOE) have the same projects.
“Ang napapansin lang namin, CHED always says ang daming kailangan ng mga estudyante [but] apparently you are not that keen on directly giving the assistance to our students because we are at a point na ang dami ngayon na hirap na hirap na gumastos ng pang tuition because we are in the midst of challenging times,” the lawmaker pointed out.
In 2023, CHED proposed a total expenditure program of P30.7 billion, with P29.3 billion or 98.5 percent designated for funding scholarships through the Higher Education Development Program (HEDP).
For 2024, the agency’s proposed budget increased to P31 billion; however, there was a slight decrease in the allocation for HEDP, which now stands at P29 billion.