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June 27, 2018


Budget Secretary and UP School of Economics Professor Emeritus Benjamin Diokno seems to the be the new champion for free higher education.

Diokno is asking for an increase of a whopping Php 11 Billion for the Free Tertiary Education Program of the Duterte Administration or a budget increase from Php 40 Billion in 2018 to Php 51 Billion in 2019. (See first video below at 0:56).

This was shared by the Budget Secretary at the 2018 Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) Midterm Convention Opening Ceremony at the SMX Convention Center on Wednesday, June 27.

Of the Php 51 Billion proposed budget, PhP 44 billion is proposed to be released to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) while PhP 7 billion will be allocated to Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).


Diokno said that while he was initially opposed to free higher education, believing that the wiser move is to invest in free elementary and high school education instead, and arguing then that free tertiary education would subsidize the rich and middle class instead of the poor, he does completely support the President in the objective of achieving the long-term benefits that free tertiary education brings. He stressed that the focus should likewise be in producing a competent workforce now demanded by a globalized world.

Diokno emphasized that Free Tertiary Education should also mean free QUALITY tertiary education, and encouraged universities to have better student information systems, student guidance and career development services.

He also encouraged the audience composed of presidents and top executives of state universities and colleges to invest in competent faculty.

“Invest in competent faculty; it accounts for more than half of student performance, more than the buildings,” he said.

Diokno, Good News, Diokno Pushes for P 11 Billion Budget Increase for Free College Education, Duterte Admin

Budget Sec. Ben Diokno champions the cause for free higher education. Here shown with heads of state colleges and universities at the 2018 Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) Convention



Diokno also reminded state universities and colleges to implement affirmative action programs to enhance access for Lumads, Muslims and other indigenous peoples, as well as persons with disabilities, students from public schools and students from depressed areas.

“There is no doubt about it: this law covers as much ground as possible when it comes to inclusivity. I hope the Universities stay true to the spirit of the law and implement the right mix of programs to ensure access to Free Tertiary Education for those who need it most,” Diokno said.

The Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges Midterm Convention is an annual gathering of PASUC attended by presidents and representatives of state colleges and universities from all over the Philippines.



Watch the full speech here:

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