Pia files ‘Build, Build, Build for Education’ Bill

Following the economy’s gains from the government’s accelerated infrastructure program, also known as ‘Build, Build, Build,’ Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for a similar initiative to fast-track the progress of quality tertiary education in the country. 

Cayetano has filed the Priority Infrastructure for Public Higher Education Institutions Act, which she called the ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program for Education Bill.

The yet-to-be-numbered bill maps out a five-year priority infrastructure plan, with a fixed budget of P10 billion, for the improvement of facilities in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). 

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be tasked to identify the priority infrastructure projects based on the needs of the 112 SUCs across the country.

Cayetano said the government has made notable strides towards giving Filipinos better access to education, especially with the passage the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act that grants free tuition to students in SUCs.

However, she lamented that while students have been accorded free tuition, a great number of SUCs in the country still “grieve for educational infrastructure.” 

“Thus, there is a need to enact a law ensuring that the facilities made available to students are well-equipped and of high quality,” said Cayetano. 

“Classrooms remain overcrowded and hallways are still being used as classrooms in many SUCs. There is also a shortage of Science and Computer laboratories. These conditions are not optimal for learning and likewise for teaching. Poor educational infrastructure impedes the intellectual growth and health of the youth,” she added. 

Cayetano said the bill was a fulfillment of her campaign promise to push for a measure that would allow Filipino graduates to be more globally competitive and job-ready. 

The bill is expected to boost the country’s efforts to ensure quality higher learning and upgrade its education facilities by 2030 under its Sustainable Development Goals. It also seeks to help the government meet its objectives under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, particularly on improving the quality of higher and technical education for global competitiveness. 

Other education measures that the senator has filed so far in the 18th Congress include the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Bill, Educational Roadmap Bill, as well as the measure providing for additional support and compensation for educators in Basic Education. 

The former chairperson of the Senate Education Committee, Cayetano authored laws in previous Congresses promoting the welfare of Filipino students, namely the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or Unifast Act (Republic Act 10687), Iskolar ng Bayan Act (Republic Act 10648), Ladderized Education Act (RA 10647), Open Distance Learning Act (RA 10650), and Open High School System Act (RA 10665). #

File photo: Then Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano (in blue) sits down with students of Pangasinan Sate University in San Carlos City.

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