There will be more college graduates in the Philippines once the country federalizes, according to the members of the Consultative Committee (Concom).
In the Concom’s draft Bayanihan Federal Constitution, basic education is a demandable right which all Filipinos are entitled to.
Tuition fees, school infrastructures, books, teachers’ salaries, and electricity will be shouldered by the federal government while maintenance costs like janitorial services will rest in the hands of the regional government.
“We will not devolve education because we cannot encumber the regions with the funding of basic education since it will take up a huge chunk of the budget,” says Concom member Atty. Susan Ubalde-Ordinario.
Education will also have to be standardized by the federal government in order to keep the quality in check.
Basic education entails free tuition for elementary, high school and the first two years of college, which will be funded by the federal government.
Atty. Randolph Parcasio of the Concom then explains that regions can top up more funds to improve on the quality of the youth’s education as well as opt to pay for the tuition of the last two years of college.
In that way, regions will be able to equip more young people with the skills, knowledge, and qualifications they need to look for jobs.
Parcasio cites the case of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) wherein the regional government takes responsibility for education.
“Kahit yung ARMM, gusto nila ibalik sa national ang responsibility,” he says.
Education was devolved to ARMM in 1989 under Republic 6734 when ARMM was created.
From 1990 until 2009, about 80% of ARMM’s budget went to paying the salaries, wages and monthly operating and other expenses of education, leaving little for the funding of other development projects in ARMM.
When ARMM’s budget was increased in 2017 and 2018, around 30% of P30-billion went to education, which is still a hefty burden.
Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allocated the biggest budget to education for 2019, which is P659.3-billion of the P3.757-trillion total budget for 2019.
Ordinario adds that given this right, the qualifications needed for government elected officials in their draft is justifiable.
“Kung ang rank and file na empleyado ay kailangan ng college graduate attainment, paano pa kaya ang presidente?” says Ordinario.
Concom’s model requires the president, vice president, senators, congressmen, and the regional governor to have a college degree or its equivalent to be elected.
“Kayo, kami, tayong mga federalists, we are workers. We are prophets of the future, not for us, but for the succeeding generations,” says Concom member Professor Eddie Alih.
The DILG on October 29-30, 2018 held its federalism roadshow in General Santos City and Polomolok to explain their proposal to the people of Soccskargen the benefits of shifting to a federal system of governance.
Representatives from the farmers, women, local government units, indigenous tribes, among others flocked to the Pederalismoserye town hall meeting with basic sectors while around 8,500 rallied for federalism on the second day of the roadshow.