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18 Bicol colleges qualify for CHED’s free tertiary program

By Mavic Conde

Some 18 colleges in Bicol have been certified to offer tertiary education for free. This means each is a recipient of the Gawad Parangal award, a certificate given to institutions as recognition of eligibility to receive funds from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as provided for by Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

Of the 18 awardees, 16 local universities and colleges (LUC) have been awarded institutional recognition. This is for having “complied with systems and procedures for all higher education institutions (HEIs) to avail Free Higher Education and Tertiary Education Subsidy programs including the Student Loan Program (SLP) for tertiary education,” according to the Philippine Information Agency.

The rest received the Certificate of Program Compliance (COPC), which according to PIA, is a recognition that the specific degree programs being offered by SUCs/LUCs are fully compliant with the policies, standards, and guidelines of CHED.

The awardees are the following: Aroroy Municipal College; City College of Naga;

San Pascual Polytechnic College; Community colleges of Baao, Calabanga, Donsol, and Governor Mariano E. Villafuerte community colleges of Garchitorena, Libmanan and Siruma; Community colleges of Daraga, Libon, Ligao, Oas, Polangui, San Jose Malilipot, and Tiwi.

The community colleges of Caramoan and Manito got the COPC.

CHED chair Prospero de Vera said in the news release that the government’s free tertiary education has “currently benefitted 1.5 million young Filipinos subsidized to continue their tertiary education for free, without paying the tuition fees and miscellaneous fees, in government-run universities, colleges and technical-vocational institutions.”

The region has also the highest Gawad Parangal Awardees for this year, he added.

In line with this, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda was also accorded with special recognition as the father and pillar of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE) Law or the free college education law.

According to PIA Bicol, “During his time as governor of Albay, Salceda pioneered free higher education and prioritized investment in human capital with the goal to have at least one college and one technical-vocational graduate per family, which paved way to substantial decrease in poverty and education rate of Albay.”

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