At least P40 billion will be allotted to fund free education for students enrolled in public higher education institutions next year, House Appropriations Committee chair Karlo Nograles said on Thursday.
"I'm happy to announce that we found P40 billion to finance free higher education," Nograles told reporters in a press conference at the House of Representatives.
The Davao City representative said they sourced the amount from various projects and programs that can no longer be implemented.
"We got P30 billion from Department of Education for their school building program, particularly those with problems sa site, no buildable space, no vacant lot," Nograles said.
"Any area na merong nafo-foresee na magiging problem sa pagpapatayo ng bagong classroom or building, we were able to carve out P30 billion from the budget," he added.
Aside from this, P3 billion was also sourced from the Department of Transportation for two projects: the EDSA BRT project and the Quezon Avenue BRT project, Nograles said.
"Both of them combined, we were able to get P3 billion to add to the free higher education," he said.
Meanwhile, Nograles said the House panel was also able to raise P6 billion from various scholarship programs already embedded in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
There were also some budget reductions from the projects of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, Nograles.
He, however, did not mention how much will be sourced from the agency.
"All in all, we were able to raise P40 billion for free higher education," Nograles said.
With this amount, Nograles said free tuition and miscellaneous expenses for all SUCs will be covered, including the University of the Philippines System, for 2018.
"It will cover the free tuition and miscellaneous fees for local universities and colleges that are accredited by CHED. It will cover the free technical-vocational education sa mga tech-voc institutions under TESDA," he added.
Tertiary education subsidy which may be used by SUCs and private schools will be covered by the amount, Nograles said.
President Rodrigo Duterte in August signed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which provides free tuition in state universities and colleges. —NB, GMA News