Education remains gov't priority, to get biggest budget—Diokno
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Friday said the education sector would continue to receive the biggest allocation in the 2019 national budget despite cuts in the proposed share of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
Diokno also eased fears that the P3-billion cut in the CHEd’s “Tulong Dunong” program may deprive 350,000 college students of their stipends, saying “that’s not automatic.”
P1.2-B standby fund
“We expect that a lot of [students] will be qualified for scholarships and allowances with the implementation of the Free Tuition Law. In any case, we still have around P1.19 billion in the proposed budget, should there be a need for it,” he said.
Diokno said the budget for programs under the Student Financial Assistance Programs, which includes Tulong Dunong, was “rationalized to make way for the implementation of the Free Tuition Law,” particularly its Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES).
The P16-billion subsidy this year was increased to P27 billion in 2019, he said.
“If you’re enrolled at an SUC [state universities and colleges] or LUC [local universities and colleges], you are automatically qualified to free tuition and fees; if you’re enrolled at a private higher education institute, you can apply for the same under the TES,” Diokno said.
Regardless of whether the students are from a public or private school, he said, they can apply for allowances.
The education sector’s allocation under the proposed 2019 national budget is P659.3 billion, up 12.3 percent from its cash-based equivalent of P587.1 billion in the 2018 budget.