/ 25 March 2022

TO BUILD more classrooms and school facilities, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday pushed for the inclusion of the construction of state universities and colleges in the government’s ‘Build Build Build’ program.

“Maraming gustong mag-aral sa college, maraming pumapasa ng entrance exam pero hindi nakakapasok ng SUCs natin, kahit sa Local Universities and Colleges, dahil sa limited capacity,” Gatchalian said.

“We need to address this issue by building more infrastructure, kaya kailangan din ng Build, Build, Build program sa ating mga SUCs para mas maraming classrooms at laboratories at matanggap natin yung mga pumasa ng entrance exam,” the lawmaker added.

During the deliberations of the 2022 national budget, Gatchalian noted that the lack of classrooms, laboratories and other facilities prevent SUCs from accepting more students.

The lawmaker pointed out that addressing these problems will increase the number of students who will benefit from free higher education and increase the country’s participation rate in higher education.

Gatchalian is one of the co-authors and co-sponsors of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or the free higher education law.

He pointed out that despite increases in the annual budget for free higher education, the budget of SUCs for capital outlay did not increase commensurately.

To date, around 1.6 million students from 114 SUCs and 106 LUCs nationwide no longer pay tuition and miscellaneous fees because of the Free Higher Education program. Meanwhile, an additional 436,000 students benefit from the Tertiary Education Subsidy.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute of Statistics, participation rate in higher education in the Philippines is at 41%, which includes enrollment in Technical-Vocational Education and Training programs.