MANILA, August 8 –University of the Philippines (UP) president Danilo Concepcion has issued a memorandum on Tuesday which provides that no tuition and other school fees shall be collected from Filipino undergraduate students throughout its system.
In an announcement posted in its UPDATE Diliman website, it stated that memorandum number PDLC 17-218 was issued “in the spirit of the recently promulgated Universal Access to Tertiary Education Otherwise known as Republic Act Number 10931 which was signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Friday.”
It said the new law should take effect only in the next school year 2018-2019 and would cover all state universities and colleges, but UP decided to take the bullet and begin the implementation immediately within the current school year.
It further stated that an existing tuition subsidy from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be utilized while miscellaneous fees will be covered by each constituent university’s own funds.The UP System is composed of eight constituent universities namely:Diliman, Baguio,Los Banos, Manila, Mindanao, the Visayas,Cebu, and Open University.
Michael Tan Lim, U.P.Diliman Chancellor, said they welcome the memorandum issued by Concepcion. In his announcement. Lim said that more detailed guidelines will be released by UP Diliman in relation to its ongoing enrollment.
UP Diliman earlier suspended collection of tuition for the first semester for the coming school year, which was supposed to begin in August pending what it said as clearer guidelines from CHED on free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs).Tan said in July 13 that the university may collect from the students later in the year,once the guidelines were released.
Currently SUCs do not charge tuition in the first semester because of the P8 billion inserted by the Senate in the 2017 National Budget for SUCs, supposedly coming from the pork barrels of lawmen from their pet projects, that the lower house has approved.
In April, CHED and DBM issued a joint memorandum giving a detailed guideline on free tuition fee grants to students from government owned universities nationwide.
CHED last week said that UP most likely will collect tuition for 2017-2018 due to its complicated tuition fee structure. The University‘s Office of the Vice President said that this is possible mainly due to shortage in the budget, until this latest decision was handed down. .Among the 113 SUCs, only UP was supposed to collect tuition for school year 2017-2018.
Republic Act 10931 was submitted to President Duterte for signing last July 5. It would have lapsed into law last August 5, if the President failed to act on it.
Duterte’s economic managers opposed the measure saying that the government cannot afford the P100 billion needed to fund it.
But CHED Spokesperson Commissioner Prospero De Vera III said last week that the budget won’t reach P100 billion. If the implementation is phased, according to De Vera, only P16.8 billion would be needed for school year 2018-2019.
Duterte has sgned the measure last Friday which seeks to grant fee tuition fee in state colleges and universities. Under the new law, the government will shoulder the tuition, miscellaneous fees, and all other mandatory fees in SUCs, local universities and colleges and state run technical –vocational institutions.