Government academic scholars should focus on their studies instead of joining protest rallies, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III reminded students who receive financial support from the government.
“If you’re a scholar under Republic Act 10931, please be a good student and finish your course on time. We appeal and ask the students to take the government subsidy seriously,” De Ver said.
Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act mandates free tuition and miscellaneous fees in state and local universities and colleges.
De Vera said since the Philippines is the only developing country which took the risk of offering free college education, the agency wants to ensure that government subsidy is well-targeted and benefits everyone who wants to study.
“If you keep on doing nothing but criticize government and attend rallies and bumagsak ka sa subjects mo (you fail your subjects), you’ll be kicked out of your program and you’ll no longer be a scholar of the government because the law requires that you’re a student of good standing,” De Vera said.
De Vera made the remark in response to National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema’s call to cancel government scholarships of all anti-government scholars, specifically students allied with the leftist Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.
“We need to note that it is part of the students’ freedom of expression. Secondly, it is not a requirement stated in the law that a student is prohibited to express sentiments, it is not criteria for exclusion,” De Vera said.
Citing that overstaying in college programs strip students of their scholarships, de Vera said many engineering and education students in the University of the Philippines campuses are no longer covered by RA 10931 because they don’t take full loads.
Moreover, he urged university professors to present all information available so that students may develop a broader perspective on political and societal issues.
“What I’m not comfortable is in many universities, a lot of the professors present one-sided viewpoint or take political positions which undermine their presentation in the classroom. I’ve taken the position that deans, presidents, vice presidents should not take political sides and their role is to ensure the development of critical thinking in the universities,” De Vera said.