Press Briefing

Economic Press Briefing with Atty. Cinderella Jaro and Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) and PCOO Director Juniño Padilla

Event Economic Press Briefing
Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacanang, Manila

ROCKY IGNACIO/PTV4:  Good morning Malacañang Press Corps, nandito tayo sa weekly Economic Briefing. Today we have PCOO Director Juniño Padilla.

DIR. PADILLA:  Thank you. Magandang umaga po sa lahat and welcome to the weekly Economic Press Briefing hosted by Economic Development Cluster and PCOO.

In behalf of PCOO and DOF Asec. Tony Lambino, who won’t be able to come today, ako po muna ang inyong makakasama ngayon.

Though siniguro naman po ng economic managers ng ating pamahalaan ang kanilang tungkulin para lalo pang mapaunlad ang ekonomiya ng bansa. Last week po, ipinaliwanag ni Asec. Tony ang mga main drivers ng inflation noong buwan ng Setyembre.

Nagbigay naman ng update si Usec. Ruth Castelo ng Department of Trade and Industry sa mga hakbangin ng DTI para mapababa ang presyo ng bigas, gaya na lang pakikipagtulungan sa Philippine Consumer Centric Traders Association Incorporated o PCCTA na binubuo ng mga malalaking supermarket retailers sa bansa, at pakikipag-ugnayan sa Metro Manila Council o MMC para makapag-issue ng local executive order sa revocation ng business permits ng mga rice retailers na hindi nagbebenta ng regular at well milled rice.

At siyempre, kasama din last week si NFA Regional Director Angel Imperial, Jr. na ipinaliwanag ang sitwasyon ng mga rice retailers sa bansa at mga regulasyong ginawa ng ahensiya para mapababa ang presyo ng bigas.

Ngayong araw naman, makakasama natin ang mga opisyal mula sa Commission on Higher Education o CHEd, sila Atty. Cinderella Jaro, OIC Executive Director, CHEd; at Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison, OIC Executive Director of Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education o UniFAST.

Alam ninyo, since time immemorial sinasabi na ang mga katagang “education is the key to success,” and that is one of the reasons kung bakit kasama ang free tuition para sa mga state universities and colleges sa prayoridad na mapopondohan ng ating pamahalaan.

Hindi lang pagtatayo ng infrastructure ang pinagtutuunan ng pansin ng ating pamahalaan, kung hindi maging ang tinatawag natin na ‘human capital development.’ We want to secure a better future for our youth by giving them better access to education.

And how do we do that? What are the means laid down by the government to make sure na hindi magpapahuli ang Pilipinas sa larangan ng edukasyon? Those questions will be answered by our key speakers today, Pilipinas and friend from media, Atty. Cinderella Jaro And Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison.

ATTY. YADAO-SISON:  Good morning. We are here today to give information concerning the status of the budget of CHEd, that will be done by Atty. Jaro; and I will provide you updates on the implementation of RA 10931 because that is a big aspect of the budget of the Commission on Higher Education.

ATTY. JARO:  Good morning, I’m Atty. Cinderella Filipina Benitez Jaro, currently the OIC Executive Director of CHEd.

So as to the budget of CHEd, prior to TRAIN Law President Duterte signed of course RA 10931 which is the law which provides quality education to our students by providing free tuition and other school fees to state universities and colleges, local colleges and universities and our state-run technical/vocational institutions.

So just to give you a brief background, one of the purposes of course of TRAIN Law was to ensure that government will be able to provide for the needs of those under its jurisdiction through the provision for better education.

For the year 2018, CHEd was given a budget of 40 billion for the implementation of RA 10931. And previously, for the year 2017, CHEd was only given a budget of 8 billion for free tuition in students who enrolled in state universities and colleges. So makikita po ninyo iyong changes ng budget ng CHEd for the provision for better education, for free tuition and other school fees – from 8 billion to 40 billion.

For the year 2019, there was also an increase of somehow ay 3 billion po for the budget of CHEd, for our UniFAST, for the implementation of UniFAST or for the implementation of RA 10931

Atty. Yadao will give you an update on the implementation of RA 10931.

ATTY. YADAO-SISON:  Okay. The budget of UniFAST for school year 2018-2019 was 40 billion, broken down as follows: 16 billion of that was for free higher education, meaning tuition and other school fees in state universities and colleges, and 78 local universities and colleges. Atty. Jaro mentioned last year there was an 8 billion allotment, but that was only for free tuition and only for the 112 SUCs. But this year, it is 16 billion for the state universities and colleges and 78 local universities and colleges that are recognized by CHEd – meaning, passing quality standards in CHEd.

With respect to the test—free TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training), that is 7 billion pesos of the 40 billion; and that amount has been transferred by UniFAST-CHEd to the Technical Education Skills Development Authority – they are the ones mandated to implement the free TVET.

The other big chunk of the 40 billion is the Tertiary Education Subsidy, and this Tertiary Education Subsidy is allotted on a prioritized basis and biased towards the poorest of the poor, the near poor and the poor. And this will also carry the former program of CHEd, the Expanded Student Grant in Aid for Poverty Alleviation, so that is 16 billion. And the 1 billion remaining is allotted or allocated for the Student Loan Program, the short-term Student Loan Program. The long term program will not yet be undertaken this year because it needs to really be studied very carefully because that is a long term income-based loan. So this is the status of our funds right now ‘no.

For free higher education, we have already allocated 3.2 billion. Remember that 16 billion is for the whole school year, so it’s 8 billion that we are targeting this first semester. We have already processed 3.2 billion, and the—the others are in the next slide ‘no. But for the 7 billion for free TVET, that’s already allocated to TESDA. For tertiary education subsidy, for the ESGP-PA (Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation) which is a priority because this is a continuing program, 221 million has already been allocated and paid to 55 state universities and colleges; 325 million is still being processed for 45 SUCs and there are still 6 state universities and colleges that have yet to submit their billing to us.

We have also allocated 3% admin cost to our partners, that is P6,638,000 for our partner institutions who will be implementing the TES and the Student Loan Program. So ito pong Student Loan Program naman ay kaa-approve lang po nito ng UniFAST Governing Board last Monday, and we are also implementing it now through our test online portal. We are in the process of awaiting submissions of applications from the entire bureaucracy of public and private higher education institutions. And this will be ranked according to their income, per capita income as well as whether or not they are in cities or municipalities that do not have state universities and colleges.

So we also tried to facilitated or fast track our free higher education billing and that’s the reason why we were able to, in 3 days, get the billings of our SUCs and LUCs which amounted to 3.2 billion.

We are in the process of continuing the evaluation and eventual disbursement of the remainder of that 8 billion for this first semester.

So, this is our cash disposition of our free higher education of P8 billion. Those who opted for fund transfer are a minority – the disbursement mechanism of fund transfer – and the total amount that was allotted to them is P76,770,375.oo.  When we did expedite billings in order to fast track the processing, we were able to, as I said, process about P3.227 billion plus  and those that sent billings after September 28 until October 14, the total amount of these billing would amount to P1.844,990 billion. And there is still an estimated billings that we have to process from about 84 of the 190 SUCs and LUCs in the sum of P2.396 billion. So taking all of them together, from the projection that we made of the P8 billion, we will be able to process about P7.545 billion.

Now, before we can really clear them, for really payment. We have to have them submit the certificates of tuition fee and other school fees. If you will recall, last year, it was only for tuition. So, it was quite a little bit easy, although it’s challenging, it was also very tedious for us, because it’s a first time that we did this revolutionary kind of financing in government – it has never been done before.  And right now, the challenge is, it’s not only tuition, but it is tuition and 13 other school fees. So, we have to factor-in all of that and it’s not easy, because the schools have different kinds of fees. So, we really have to be careful about putting them in the mold, where they will qualify.

So, for those who have submitted – of the 113 SUCs at this point in time, only 19 are compliant, 9 are not compliant and 32 have not submitted. Those that have submitted, but still have issues are 53. Now, with respect to the CHED recognized LUCs – there’s 78 – compliant na po iyong 29, non-compliant, dalawa na lang, did not submit 17, submitted but still with issues are 30.

So, you will see that both—in free higher education we are really being very careful, because this will also define next semester’s evaluation. It’s the first time it has happened, so we are really challenged, but we are doing our job, because this is social legislation for the benefit of our Filipino youth and their families.

Okay, we have a preliminary analysis of enrollment data and enrollment paucity. We asked the schools, the 190 schools to submit to us their enrollment data for school year 2015-2016 vis-à-vis school year 2018-2019. Because we wanted to see if there was a big change or if it is true that there is a migration, a big migration from the private to the public institutions, institutions of higher learning. At this point, we have 45 out 112 SUCs that have submitted their disclosures to us. We are still gathering, as usual they are in the process of complying with so many things so we are—but we will really see this through up to the last  state university or college ‘no.

So this is what was disclosed. If you will compare the freshmen in 2015-2016 and the freshmen enrollment now in 2018-2019 – but this is only less than half po ng population. It would show that the number of freshmen in 2015-2016 was a total of 217,783. But if you look now, there was a two year period where there were no enrollees for first and then another two years for freshmen because of the Kto12.  But now, they have already gone back to school and they have already graduated from their K to 12. So, we are looking now at data of enrollees for the first term of school year 2018-2019.

So, at 40% submission, the data already shows 183,932 enrollees of our freshmen. So that is not too far off from the total number in 2015-2016. But give that we are still awaiting other submissions of other SUCs, we will still see that, that number might actually really increase some more.   So for transferees, hindi ho masyadong malaki, from 596 in 2015, now it’s just 312 for freshmen. And then returning students – that’s where we see the big number of returning students. From 2015-2016 it’s 5,225 and then now, when we asked for information, the number of qualified enrollees would something like 3,679, which is lower, but still, if they were qualified,   if there were sufficient number of qualified, then that would have been translated into 9,298.

What does  this show, this therefore shows that the budgetary capacity, the carrying capacity has not really yet been fully utilized and we are saying that  if we get more data – the remainder   of the 60% — this number might  also therefore increase.

Now for the seniors – We are comparing the freshmen (incoming) and those who are in the senior level right now. So for the senior level, in school year 2015-2016, the total number of enrollees were 93,596 and for 2018-12019, it’s 149,349. So there is a jump, there is an increase in the seniors that have enrolled now as compared to 2015-2016. And there is still 60% of the data that we are waiting for, so this number might actually still also increase.

Transferees, dumagdag ho ang number of transferees from 409, from school year 2015 to school year 2018, the total number being – 638. So, there is an increase. And with respect to retuning students, there is also a slight increase from 1,033 to 1,119. Now if you look at the seniors   who are in the five year courses. The number increase po, from 10,179, the number now is 14,361. And for those in the 6 year categories, there were only 225 in 2015-2016 and then now we have 306. So it shows an increase in both the freshmen and in the senior levels.

Effect of TRAIN law – As Atty. Jaro mentioned the RA10931 came prior to the passage of the TRAIN Law. But I guess, that what the TRAIN Law wants us to do is for the Philippines to be higher in terms of global competitiveness index.  So, if you will note among the ASEAN member states, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have consistently ranked higher than the Philippines and with Singapore on the top.

Now, with the higher education reform agenda in place and this would include this major program of this administration, then we might be able to overtake Thailand, if  we put our efforts in that  area and place itself with a higher ranking in the  upcoming years.

Now, if you review the latest edition of the  World Tax Summaries  for  the Asia Pacific Region in 2017-2018, it reveal that only India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and China  provided a preferential tax rate for proprietary  educational institutions.

Comparatively, our ten percent preferential tax rate imposed on private educational institutions in the Philippines is lower than 14% in Sri Lanka and in India which is about 18 to 21 percent.

So our analysis is that, this TRAIN Law supports the efforts of CHEd because after two years and institutions do not show compliance with the standards, then they will be imposed a  higher imposition of 15% and then 20% after three years should they not obtain a certificate of compliance from the Commission on Higher Education.

So we are being supported by the TRAIN Law in making the Philippines more globally competitive in that only compliant or quality institutions will be allowed to operate programs. And that also supports RA 10931, because if you look at the law, there is a very big provision there on quality standards. And when you say quality standards that means that the programs comply with the policies, standards and guidelines of CHEd, and are in the registry of the Commission on Higher Education.

Now, I think I want to go to updates on the TES online portal because the TES is the third important category in the UniFAST Law, and it is allotted 16 billion. But since it is limited, if the maximum amount that is given to those in private schools is 60,000, then that means that for 16 billion, we can only have 16,000 grantees for the TES—no, no. I’m sorry, three hundred thousand for the TES.

And therefore, in pursuing or in selecting the applicants who will be the qualified beneficiaries of TES, we set up an in-house ICT system of the TES online portal where the institutions will submit the list of their poor – poorest of the poor, poor and near poor students. And based on the prioritization and the names that they will put in, they will be identified and if they are included in the Listahanan 2.0 of DSWD, then they will be ranked accordingly and that’s how they will be chosen.

Right now, we have already about … as of last night, this was October 14, but of last night, we already have about 354,000 TES applications. And this is ongoing because the deadline for importing data to our TES online portal is October 30. We are doing a rally so that those regions that have not yet submitted applications, we are pushing them to correctly import the data through the use of our online portal system.

What are the types of institutions that have submitted TES applications? As you can see, there are about more than private higher institutions that have submitted as against the SUCs and the LUCs. But if you note, there are almost 1,800 private higher educational institutions, and only 112 SUCs and 78 LUCs.

So we are rallying so that there will be more submissions from our private higher educational institutions so that there will be wide participation from those who are poor; because while in SUCs and LUCs, there is no qualification as to finance to be availing of that. All you need is to be admitted and subject to the retention policies. In TES, it is really given to those who need more in life, and to be able to sustain education in college for the four years.

This is the system how we distribute. First, the application; then, there is the assessment that is being done. After the assessment is done, then there is an award. And after the award is the issuance of payments. We have institutions that are helping us in this. The DSWD, of course, because it is their Listahanan 2.0 that we are utilizing for the ranking and we are going to get a service provider for the TES management so that those in the private schools will be managed by that provider because in the public higher education institutions, it is uniformed – 20,000 only for tuition. But in the private higher education institutions, they have various amounts in their tuitions.

So the Landbank of the Philippines has been selected by the UniFAST governing board to be our government financing institution, and it will be them that will help us or assist us in the distribution of the cash cards that will be provided to those who will qualify.

Since this is transition and we started late, the awardees will get their benefits starting from the first semester. They will get that lump sum; but in the succeeding semesters, they will get it monthly, on a monthly basis.

So iyon ho ang report namin sa RA 10931 implementation.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Attorney, DBCC announced that it may identify items that may be cut, iyong expenditure cut because of the suspension of the excise tax increase on oil. So have you been given assurance na hindi apektado iyong education doon sa magiging expenditure cuts?

ATTY. JARO: So prior to this meeting, I was able to coordinate with Asec. Lambino. As he has stated, iyon na nga po, may mga possibilities or they are looking at possibilities on how to reduce iyong certain services.

But as of now, they have not yet made a decision on the matter. They are just in the process of forming a task force to determine which services or ano iyong mga services that may be deducted. So as of now, wala pang resolution on to that matter. But, iyon na nga, pina-prioritize pa rin nila ang education.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: But will there be an effort on the part of CHEd to urge the economic managers na huwag namang galawin iyong … kasi non-infra so that means social service, it includes education, na huwag namang galawin iyong scholarships, iyong sa education. Will there be an effort to ask them?

ATTY. JARO: Definitely. We will be in close coordination with DoF so that iyong provision for education will somehow not be affected by any deduction.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: What would be the impact kung if they decide to reduce iyong budget or if they reduce the expenditures on the education because of the suspension?

ATTY. JARO: As I’ve said kasi, wala pa naman ganoong—

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: Pero what could happen? Ano iyong maapektuhan?

ATTY. JARO: Kung sakali naman, uunahin naman—as Asec. Lambino has stated, uunahin naman iyong tinatawag na ano ‘di ba, for infrastructure. So iyong mga provision for mga basic services, I don’t think na ito ang … kumbaga ito siguro iyong least priority nila. Ang mga uunahin nila ay iyong mga hindi for education or for basic services.

ACE ROMERO/PHIL STAR: So you’re confident parang kung magkakaroon man, kayo iyong ihuhuling bawasan if ever?


CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Magandang tanghali po. Medyo somewhat not related to what you have discussed, regarding the recent pronouncement before by the AFP that some universities in the country or in Metro Manila are being used by the communist rebels to be their breeding ground para sa kanilang new members sa recruitment. Have you confirmed this with the authorities? And have you coordinated with those concerned SUCs or itong mga universities and colleges?

ATTY. JARO: For the information of the… ano na rin po, for your information also, iyong mga state universities namin are being chaired also by our commissioners. And as of now po, wala naman pong official communication from AFP or from PNP as to those information that they have received that these state universities are somehow engaged in this plot. So kapag mayroon nang ganoon official communication from AFP, definitely po we will act on the matter. The Commission will decide or will somehow determine kung anong gagawin namin or next step namin as to those that were somehow reported by AFP po.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN: Ma’am, since the information, the report came out like, I think, several weeks ago and there’s no communication yet from the AFP, do you think nagwi-witch hunt lang military? Or could that somehow affect iyong environment inside the universities?

ATTY. JARO:  Okay. Ganito ma’am… Of course we could not comment pa doon sa report ng AFP because iyon na nga, hindi naman kami—we are not privy to all the communication or correspondences or information received by AFP. So we are only acting po sa mga official communication also by the different government agencies.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  So right now, you could assure na hindi naman siya ginagawang breeding ground ng mga—or recruitment ng mga CPP-NPA?

ATTY. JARO:  As I’ve mentioned po… for our state universities, they are also being chaired by our Commissioners and our—may mga state universities na chini-chair din po ng aming Chairperson – Sir Popoy De Vera, and of course they will not—somehow they will do all those things na hindi magba-violate ng any laws po ang ating mga state universities and colleges.

CELERINA MONTE/MANILA SHIMBUN:  Iyon bang pagkakaroon ng, like… let’s face it na there are really some universities na nagkakaroon ng mga discussion regarding sa, kung ano iyong ini-espouse ng mga NPA and CPP. Did you call their attention or nagkaroon ba ng sanction or anything before?

ATTY. JARO:  Okay. Of course, the Commission recognizes academic freedom, freedom of expression of mga state universities and of course iyong mga estudyante. So gaya po ng sinabi ko, wala pa naman po kaming nare-receive na official communication from AFP regarding that matter. So kumbaga, wala pa naman kaming i-a-aksiyon dahil wala pang official communication as to this alleged plots or alleged actions.

IAN CRUZ/GMA7:  Ma’am, in relation to that po ‘no. Sabi po dati ni Chief PNP Oscar Albayalde, dapat hindi nag-go-go against ang mga students lalo na itong mga iskolar ng bayan doon sa gobyerno, kasi sila ang nagpapaaral doon sa kanila. May ganoon bang tinitingnan ang CHEd ngayon na… magkakaroon ba kayo ng ganoong polisiya, and nabanggit ninyo nga, mayroong academic freedom eh, pero paano ito ipatutupad?

ATTY. JARO:  Okay. Of course iyong academic freedom naman ay, we should also take into to consideration, iyong mga rules, laws and regulations natin as long as iyong academic freedom and freedom of expression would not somehow violate our laws and regulations. Of course, the Commission would recognize the academic freedom and freedom of expression of mga state universities and ating mga estudyante.

DAHREL PLACIDO/ABS-CBN:  Hi, ma’am. Not even the PNP has coordinated with you? Kasi sabi po ni NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar, they will seek your guidance daw po on what to do next. Mayroon na po bang coordination ng PNP?

ATTY. JARO:  Okay. As of now kasi… as OIC Executive Director, I’m also receiving iyong mga communication from the different government agencies. As of now, I have not yet received official communication from the PNP as to this matter.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Ma’am iyong qualifying test for students who would like to avail this free tertiary education, does it depend on the institution?

ATTY. YADAO-SISON:  There is actually admission examination of each institution – that is the only criteria for somebody to avail of the benefits here. You have to be admitted based on the standards or policies set by the school.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Set by the school… So it’s up to them if they will tighten it?

ATTY. YADAO-SISON:  Well, it’s really up to them. It’s their exercise of their institutional autonomy and academic freedom. CHEd has never interfered and UNIFAST will also not interfere in that exercise.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  So how will this free tertiary education advance the quality of our state universities and colleges?

ATTY. YADAO-SISON:  It will advance, because we will not provide the benefits if the program or institution is not in the registry of CHEd-recognized quality assured program or institution. So quality standard is very big in the law; the requirement of a registry is also very big there. So from what we have done since last year, we have really been—many institutions really wanted to avail, but if they’re not in the registry especially in the test… kasi sa test po mayroon ho ‘yang mga first admission and then registry – if you are not there, then it will lock if you cannot avail of it.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  What quality standards are we looking at?

ATTY. YADAO-SISON:  We are looking at quality standards that are set by the Commission on Higher Education, which it has always done based on its powers under RA 7722. It’s minimum standards – it’s not the maximum standards by the way.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  Ma’am in the QS of world university ranking, we have at least 4 there, like 1 state university and then 3 private Catholic universities. What happened to the other state universities?

ATTY. JARO:  Okay. Iyong sa pre to QS ranking, you have to know also na mayroong certain criteria sila eh, may mga category sila; and one category nila is iyong research. Some of our state universities are lacking doon sa research na category. Marami rin naman reasons why they are lacking into this category; halimbawa, kulang tayo ng funding o kaya naman kulang din ng time ang ating mga faculty, considering that they are teaching and they are not able to do research – Oo, mga laboratories kulang – so iyon ‘yung mga factors or considerations.

So considering na isang factor din ang budget, and pag-i-increase ng budget into state universities would somehow increase provisions nila for research, and somehow would increase the quality of their research.

ARJAY BALINBIN/BUSINESS WORLD:  But the fact that we have 3 private universities there, does it mean that private universities provide better education to Filipinos?

ATTY. JARO:  Okay. Kung makikita po ninyo iyong demographics natin ng mga private higher education institutions saka mga state universities po natin, talaga namang a big factor of our higher education sector ay nasa private higher educational institutions.

In fact po, sa aming demographics ay out of the 1,900… more or less 1,900 higher educational institutions almost more or less 1,600 or 1,667 yata – if I remember it right – ng ating private higher educational institutions. So, less than 30% of which ay nasa ating mga state universities and local universities and colleges.

So kung titingnan mo palang iyong demographics natin, talagang mas malaki din talaga iyong percentage na ang makakarating talaga doon sa QS ranking ay itong mga private higher educational institution and also considering that of course some of the private higher educational institutions ay kumbaga mga non-stock, non-profit na talagang established na since time immemorial so mas malaki na ang funding nila for research at saka iyong mga categories natin na naka-base doon sa QS ranking.

ARJAY BALINBIN:  So, what are these universities, state universities doing right now, what’s the…?

ATTY, JARO:  Okay, iyon na nga, they are improving their research nila. So that they would somehow improve doon sa category na iyon. Kasi noong tiningnan talaga iyong QS ranking, malaking factor talaga iyong research why some of the state universities were not able to qualify or somehow makapasok doon sa QS ranking.

ARJAY BALINBIN:  How do you think this new policy which is free tertiary education impact the private sector?

ATTY. SISON:  That is really the point of contention of the private schools. It is their claim that there is actually a lack of complementarity in the treatment of RA 10931. But I always assure them that you know, you have to understand and study the law, because there is also the Tertiary Education Subsidy is where you can be provided equal benefits, because it is also 16 billion as—the free higher education in the SUCs and LUCs is 16 billion. But here, if the student selects or chooses to enroll in a private institution then the subsidy that will he or she will get includes already the tuition in the private school.

So, I was telling the private schools, especially those that are in areas that don’t have LUCs or SUCs, they are all qualified to apply for the TES; unlike those with LUCs and SUCs. So, I said, maybe you should really participate more in—apply, in  the online portal, because in all likelihood your students will be of such number that would come in and qualify for this Tertiary Education  Subsidy and the tuition there—it’s a subsidy but the tuition allocation is there if you are a private higher educational institution.

So when they realized that, now they are really working hard to be able to access our TES.

ARJAY BALINBIN:  So they should not really worry that they might been be losing some… a huge number of students will be moving to the state universities?

ATTY. SISON:  They should not worry, primarily because there are only a limited number of states universities and colleges and CHED recognized LUCs, that’s just 190 of them. And with the population, they cannot all migrate to these public higher educational institutions. Because these SUCs and LUCs also have their… what you call the carrying capacity. They cannot unreasonably increase their admission, because we will also look—ChED will also look to them: Did you comply with the faculty to student ratio. Did you comply with the requirement for enough classrooms, library facilities, laboratories and other such or similar equipment and facilities.

So, pag hindi po sila sumunod doon, mape-phase out ho iyong kanilang programa. They have been very prudent and our data shows that there is no such move. In fact, the 40% I was talking about later shows that in fact the carrying capacity has not yet also been maximized; although that’s just 40%. Maybe when we get the 60% there will be some other data that will come in. But right now, mahirap hong sabihin na magma-migrate na ho lahat iyong private sa public, kasi limitado ho and by the very sheer number of the private higher educational institutions and the number of the SUCs, LUCs talagang hindi ho pupuwedeng mangyari ho iyon.

PIA GUTTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  Atty. Jaro on another topic. Ma’am, how is CHED addressing the audit findings of the EMSA or the European Maritime Safety Agency with regards to the low performance or the non-compliance of our maritime training programs to the STCW Convention?

ATTY. JARO:  Let me just clarify din na iyong sa EMSA findings or iyong—actually the European Commission findings or observation, ang nag-a-address po nito ay MARINA, but this is also in close coordination with the CHED. We have already identified those measures that we should do in order to comply with the audit findings.

Some of the audit findings kasi doon ng EC ay iyong sa competence of course ng ating mga maritime students and ina-address naman natin iyon through a… iyong pag-improve ng ating… itong tinatawag naming policy standards and guidelines regarding sa ating BSMT saka sa ating MS Mari. So we are in the process of issuing our PSG so that we would be able to comply with the observation of the European Commission.

Also, for your information, I think a month ago, President Duterte signed an executive order which strengthened MARINA in the determination of how we would be able to comply with the STCW Convention. And MARINA and CHED are in close coordination so that we would be able to release the implementing rules and guidelines of that EO. I think its EO 6367 so that we would be able to address also the concerns of EC.

PIA GUTTIERREZ/ABS-CBN:  So, ano ang role ng MARINA right now, Ma’am, on approving iyong programs of our maritime schools?

ATTY. JARO: Okay. Doon po sa EO, ang nakalagay po doon that it is MARINA which is the lead evaluator. Pero ito iyong sa mga maritime, those maritime higher education institutions na mag-o-offer ng BSMT at saka BSMari.

With respect to programs, of course, as mandated by RA 7722, ang CHEd ang nagpu-formulate ng minimum standards para sa ating mga programs. But considering na mayroon tayong provisions na sinasabi ng MARINA ang lead agency with respect to the STCW Convention at itong EO na nilabas ng ating Presidente, we would coordinate with MARINA so that iyong provisions natin o iyong mga programs natin would be in compliance with the STCW Convention. And we can only do that if MARINA and CHEd would coordinate for our maritime programs.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Hindi pupuwede iyong joint approval. So the approval would be from CHEd in coordination with MARINA, tama po ba?

ATTY. JARO: Yes, joint naman ito. In fact, iyong IRR na executive order, it will be a joint issuance by CHEd and MARINA.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5:: Last na lang, ma’am. How many maritime schools are found to be non-compliant to the STCW?

ATTY. JARO: I’m sorry ha, kasi I think iyong sa STCW ay nasa MARINA. So I’m not sure about the figure now kung ilan ang hindi compliant doon.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: So if they are not compliant, will CHEd recommend the closure of these programs  or these schools?

ATTY. JARO: Let me just emphasize na hindi lang naman iyong STCW iyong tinitingnan kasi mayroon din—ang tsinitsek talaga natin iyong program talaga niya at saka iyong compliance ng mga maritime higher education institutions with our PSG. So we also take into consideration iyong mga faculty nila o kaya naman iyong mga facilities, mga laboratories nila, we take that into consideration.

Mayroon namang procedures tayo na ini-implement ang MARINA at ang CHEd with respect to the monitoring of mga maritime higher education institutions. At may provision doon na if they are found to be nom-compliant with our policies, standards and guidelines, then of course, the next step or procedure for CHEd and MARINA to somehow—kasi mayroong proseso na dinadaanan iyan – dumadaan iyan ng technical panel for maritime education and upon recommendation nitong technical panel for maritime education ay ini-endorse ito sa commission en banc ng CHEd to determine kung anong mga maritime higher education institutions ang ipi-phase out or iku-close natin.

MARICEL HALILI/TV5: Last na lang, ma’am. So our approval also of the maritime programs is not only based on their compliance to international safety standards, tama po ba?

ATTY. JARO: Oo, kasi kasama iyan … kasi iyong sa international safety standards ay kasama naman iyan sa aming CMO – sa policies, standards and guidelines.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Atty. Jaro, balikan ko lang doon sa freedom of expression. Ano ba iyong borderline doon sa freedom of expression sa hanay ng mga estudyanteng pinag-aaral ng gobyerno? Hanggang saan ba iyong extent, at kalian natin masasabi na may violation na sila?

ATTY. JARO: Gaya nga ng sinabi ko, ang freedom of expression, as long as you are not violating laws, then you are free naman to express your insights, your opinion on the matter.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: So hanggang saan iyong extent, ma’am?

ATTY. JARO: Iyon nga, sa akin, ang delineation, as long as you are not violating any laws. Of course, kung halimbawa lang ha, sa akin ha, kung somehow ay mayroon kang … nagba-violate ka ng ating Revised Penal Code, nag-i-incite ka ng sedition/rebellion, nakalagay naman iyan sa ating Revised Penal Code na ito ay mga violations din ng ating law. So kapag may mga violations ng ating Revised Penal Code, ito ang sa tingin ko ang delineation mo on how to determine if someone is violating that freedom of expression.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: So halimbawa, ma’am, iyong mga term na ‘ibagsak si ganyan, working with the communist,’ violation ba iyon, ma’am?

ATTY. JARO: Pa-clarify lang po, ibagsak po—papaano po ba ang …

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Halimbawa, ibagsak ganyan, ibagsak si Pangulong ganyan. Si Pangulong Romero, halimbawa.

ATTY. JARO: Okay. Iba-iba kasi ang pagtingin dito base na rin din sa circumstance, kung papaano ito sinabi, saan ito sinabi at kung ito ay coupled with any actions after that. So ito iyong determination mo kung ito ay nagba-violate ka din ng any laws.

ALVIN BALTAZAR/RADYO PILIPINAS: Ma’am, one last na lang. Kung saka-sakaling may violation na nakita, ano iyong sanction – puwede ba siyang maalis bilang scholar ng ano?

ATTY. JARO: Okay po. Gaya nga ng sinabi rin po ni Atty. Sison kanina, ang mga institution ay may institutional freedom. So sila naman din po ang nagde-determine ng qualification ng kanilang mga estudyante. Ang jurisdiction po ng CHEd ay with respect to the higher educational institutions; pagdating po sa mga estudyante, ang mayroon pong authority o supervision po diyan ay ang ating mga higher educational institutions.

With respect to our state universities and colleges and mga local colleges and universities, of course, mayroon silang mga governing board na may mga supervision over the students, and may authority over the students, and as well as mayroong institutional freedom to determine iyong qualifications sa kanilang mga estudyante.

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: Ma’am, quick lang doon sa tinatanong niya. Because the allegation of the AFP is that the communists are recruiting students in colleges. Now, if this is true – if this is true – a student is recruited and it results to him or her joining protest actions, ganoon lang po. Is that still covered by academic freedom?

ATTY. JARO: Okay. Kung protest actions—kagaya nga ng sabi ko …

INA ANDOLONG/CNN PHIL: With communists. I mean, iyon ang allegation, ma’am.

ATTY. JARO: Alam ninyo naman, mayroon naman tayong mga provisions ng law which address iyong issues doon sa communism. So kagaya ng sinabi ko kanina, kung mayroong violation ng ating laws, iyong with respect to laws ng communist sa atin sa communism, then ito ang aaktuhan dapat ng governing board, ng higher education institutions, at ng CHEd naman over the higher educational institutions.


SOURCE: PCOO – NIB (News and Information Bureau)