/ 26 September 2023

THE SENATE has approved on third and final reading several bills that seek to convert and establish schools across the country.

Approved on third reading were House Bill 6553 or the proposed Bataan Peninsula State University-Batac Campus Act; House Bill 6552 or the Leyte Normal University- San Isidro Campus Act: House Bill 6128 or the Pampanga State Agricultural University-Floridablanca Campus Act; House Bill 7091 or the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Parañaque City Campus Act; House Bill 6704 or Benguet State University-College of Medicine Act; House Bill 7087 or the Southern Luzon State University-College of Medicine Act; House Bill 7088 or the University of Eastern Philippines- College of Medicine Act; House Bill 7090 or the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University- South La Union Campus- College of Medicine Act; House Bill No. 7412 or Visayas State University-College of Medicine Act; House Bill 7961 or the Revised Bulacan State University Charter; House Bill 7397 or the Bicol University- College of Veterinary Medicine; and House Bill 7398 or the Southern Luzon State University- Catanauan Campus- College of Veterinary Medicine.

Senator Francis Escudero, chairperson of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education and sponsor of the measures, said the elevation of schools into regular campuses would give them certain autonomous decision-making prerogatives.

He added that the devolution of their powers would be advantageous to their future as it would invite local stakeholders to engage more in affairs integral to their educational system.

“As vowed by the university officials, what is being sought goes beyond a change of name but a qualitative improvement in its offerings and outcomes,” he said.

Escudero, who introduced amendments to the bills, said they would improve the measures by including key provisions tailored to achieve desired quality standards expected of a higher institute of learning.

“The conversion and establishment of these campuses are driven not only by egalitarian motives of democratizing access to its portals but in making sure that it is attended with excellence,” the senator explained.

He said the conversion and establishment of the schools are an essential part of the growth of their respective localities.

“As a province grows, so must the school grow so it can train and require human capital to propel its progress. Education is a development imperative. These bills ensure that it is for the present and for the future of these areas and those who dwell therein,” Escudero added.