Press Release
May 12, 2023


Sen. Chiz Escudero on Thursday resumed the public hearing of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education and tackled policies and initiatives to improve the state of the country's higher education, including plans to establish medical colleges and veterinary schools in state universities nationwide.

During the hearing, the panel approved various proposals to create five additional medical colleges in Southern Luzon State University in Lucban, Quezon; Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-South La Union Campus in Agoo, La Union; Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte; University of Easter Philippines in Catarman, Northern Samar; and University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.

On the other hand, plans to establish veterinary schools at the Bicol University in Ligao, Albay and the Southern Luzon State University-Catanauan Campus in Quezon province were cleared by Escudero's committee.

As the various bills were consolidated, Escudero said a provision on the revised version to be crafted by the committee will have a provision that the schools will only be operational and accept enrollees once they comply with the requirements prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The higher education committee likewise approved the Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) Governance Act. The Chair referred it to a technical working group in order to consolidate the latest memorandum circulars issued by the CHED.

In the same meeting, Escudero approved in principle the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) Act, which provides opportunities for working professionals who have not been able to complete their college education to earn a degree through non-traditional means. The senate bill was referred to CHED for amendments to include a budget proposal for the program's initial implementation.

The committee chair, however, expressed reservation on House Bill 6994, which mandates the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) to accept one cadet from each of the country's 253 congressional districts.

Instead, Escudero proposed the construction of additional PMMA campuses and facilities in Calabarzon, Visayas and Mindanao than pass a bill that caters to recruitment. He then referred it to a technical working group to invite the bill's authors with the end-view of "refocusing" it.

"Instead of mandating that there be at least one student or cadet from each congressional district, it might be better for us to pass instead a law that will establish additional campuses and facilities of the PMMA in the Visayas - either Bacolod, Cebu or Iloilo - and in either in Davao or Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and to appropriate the corresponding funds therefore," Escudero said during a hearing.

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