With the recent implementation of Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UNIFAST), students and parents of the local colleges and universities (LCUs) are praising certain senators and the national government for the landmark law in public higher education. While the senate and the national government deserve the praises they get, one thing should not be forgotten – the local government units or the LGUs.
Local colleges and universities like Pamantasan ng Cabuyao are subsidized by the LGU. The budget of their operation is appropriated from the business taxes the LGU collects. In PnC for instance, the City Government of Cabuyao appropriates at least P65M per year to PnC. With a total budget of P105M, PnC collects from the students (tuition fees and other fees) around P40M. In effect, 60% of PnC budget for operation comes from the city coffers.
UNIFAST law mandates that the students will not pay anymore for their college education (under some provisions students are still required to pay). And so, for PnC, the P40M collection from the students will now be shouldered by the national government through subsidy. This is why in PnC, students do not pay anymore (again, except for those not covered by the UNIFAST provisions). With students not paying anything anymore, they hail the national government for FREE EDUCATION. Their parents do the same.
But everyone must take a closer look at who really is the hero of free college education. Is it the national government for shouldering what students ought to be paying? Or is it the local government who have long subsidized higher education? Is it the national government who shoulders 40% of the university budget? Or is it the local government who shoulders 60% of the university budget?
Both deserve to be praised. But let us not simply haul all the praises to the UNIFAST because 40% of the university budget will not be enough to provide for the quality higher education in PnC. The city government of Cabuyao, through the leadership of the city mayor, Hon. Rommel A. Gecolea – has placed education on top of its priority programs. Because of his education reforms in PnC, the university was able to receive the CHED Institutional Recognition. Such recognition along with many other recognitions the university
received over the last two (2) years earned for PnC the position to qualify for the UNIFAST. Yes, not all local colleges and universities (LCUs) qualified for the free college education of Duterte Administration. Only those LCUs who operate and maintain quality education and administration.