Press Release
September 22, 2020

Bong Go asks CHED, SUCs to ensure safety of students and personnel; reminds them to provide grants to qualified students, children of displaced OFWs

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go, during a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Finance on Monday, September 21, implored the Commission on Higher Education and the leadership of all state universities and colleges to ensure the safety and well-being of their students and personnel as the country's education system adjusts to the adverse effects of the ongoing health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In the implementation of policies, listen to the students, the parents, the professors. We all have to be in this together. Nandito po ang national government para tumulong sa inyo," Go said.

While expressing his full support to the agency and educational institutions during the budget hearing, Go quizzed CHED about the low number of universities and colleges with Centers of Excellence, Center of Development, with recognized flagship program, with Autonomous or Deregulated status, or with Level III or Level IV accredited programs.

"Only 18% of Higher Education Institutions are with Centers of Excellence, Center of Development, with recognized flagship program, with Autonomous or Deregulated status, or with Level III or Level IV accredited programs," Go noted.

"Ideally, the more we have of these excellent educational institutions, the better the quality of our education," Go further lamented as CHED Chair J. Prospero De Vera III emphasized that the quality of education is correlated to the level of government investment.

Go also asked for updates regarding the agency's initiatives to render services in the education sector via digital means, saying, "I am pushing for the country's transition to the digital age through the E-Governance bill I filed. I see that CHED has been implementing initiatives to render services through digital means."

"On this end, what are the primary obstacles which the CHED had encountered in its initiatives to use information and communications technology to improve the higher education system and how did you address these?" he asked.

While some progress has been made, de Vera lamented that connectivity is still low in many external campuses around the country. For that, de Vera mentioned that the agency will need the help from other government agencies to resolve the connectivity issues in various educational institutions nationwide.

In July of this year, Go filed a measure institutionalizing the transition of the government to e-governance in the digital age.

Senate Bill No. 1738, or the E-Governance Act of 2020, mandates the government to establish an integrated, interconnected, and interoperable information and resource-sharing and communications network spanning the entirety of the national and local government, an internal records management information system, an information database, and digital portals for the delivery of public services.

The measure, likewise, pushes for the digitalization of paper-based and other traditional modes of workflows for a more efficient and transparent public service.

Under Go's proposed measure, the heads of government agencies are mandated to comply with the requirements of the bill, including related standards for all ICT infrastructure, systems, equipment, designs, and other technologies promulgated by the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Ending his manifestation of support to the CHED and SUCs, Go agreed that the education sector needs to be prioritized so it can recover swiftly from the COVID-19 crisis.

"I express my full support to the CHED and all the state universities and colleges," he said, adding that "Education has been one of the hardest hit industries in our nation, and it is only right that we prioritize our education system as the country recovers from this crisis."

Meanwhile, Go also reminded CHED to deliver on the President's directive to help students who are children of overseas Filipino workers. Last August 31, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the one-time grant of P30,000 as assistance to college students who are children of OFWs who were displaced, repatriated, deceased or affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Paalala lang po sa lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno: Dapat kung may binitawang salita, maibigay at huwag tagalan ang serbisyo. Siguraduhin nating matutupad ito," he reminded.

This grant is intended for qualified beneficiaries who are enrolled or about to enroll in any state or private colleges and universities recognized by CHED. An estimated 33,000 students are expected to benefit from this assistance.

Earlier, CHED also announced that application for the Tertiary Education Subsidy for the coming school year may be submitted already. The subsidy is not only for children of affected OFWs but also for other qualified college-level students, as provided by the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act signed by Duterte in 2017.

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