Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera, CHEd Officer-in Charge, leads the panelists in the open forum. With De Vera are Dr. Cesar H. Medina, Regional Director, CHEd RO 6; Ms. Marife Lou I. Bacate and Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison, CHEd OIC Executive Director IV.

Students, faculty and staff of ISAT U campuses joined the nationwide information caravan for Republic Act 10931 (RA 10931) or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act at the Iloilo Convention Center on April 11, 2018.

The information caravan was organized by the Commission on Higher Education and the United Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) to orient higher education institutions of Region VI on the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 10931.

Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III, CHEd Officer -in-Charge and Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison, CHEd OIC Executive Director IV, spearheaded the information campaign.  Among the important matters discussed were the scope of the free tuition fees, retention and admission policies, return service system (RTS) and the tertiary education subsidy (TES) which was also expanded to private colleges and universities..

The ISAT U delegates.

Referring to the admission and retention policies,  Dr. De Vera reminded all state colleges and universities (SUCs) to level up.  Fair and equitable admission and academic requirements should be imposed.

He also clarified that RTS should depend on the needs of the SUCs and suggested to utilize the school’s extension services in conducting the affirmative action programs.. The commissioner, likewise, called on the students to be serious in their studies.

Commissioner De Vera reiterated his statement on universal free higher education during his listening visit in ISAT U campuses last August 2017, “wala pang maunlad (na bansa) sa buong mundo ang sumubok nito . . .tayo pa lamang.”

Dr. Raul F. Muyong

The commissioner also urged all stakeholders, implementers and beneficiaries to work hand in hand for the success of the program, “ magtagumpay tayo kung tayo ay magtulungan, “ he said.

The implementation of the 8-billion pesos Free Tuition Policy 2017 which was undertaken prior to the approval of RA 10931 was also reviewed. Ms. Marife Lou I. Bacate, UniFAST Technical Assistant for Macro-Human Resource Development, pointed out that there were 888, 799 recipients of Free Tuition Policy 2017 from 112 SUCs and 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs) for Academic Year 2017-2018.

Given the opportunity to report on the status of billing for the program, Dr. Raul F. Muyong shared that ISAT U was the first SUC in Western Visayas that complied with the requirements and received the reimbursements for the second semester in the amount of  25 million pesos.