Senator seeks long-term student loan

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Cecille Suerte Felipe – The Filipino Star

August 14, 2022 | 00:00

MANILA, Philippines – As Filipinos continue to recover from the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid is seeking to provide long-term personal loans to students to help with living expenses, including board and lodging, transport as well as internet and digital connectivity costs.

By filing Senate Bill 274, Lapid seeks to establish the College Living Expenses Funding (CLEF) program to support the undergraduate education of Filipino students with good academic standing. Amortizations begin one year from the date of graduation or the end of the last semester of enrollment.

“Even though tuition is free for our students, I know there are still many who find it difficult to attend college because they cannot afford to cover their living expenses during their studies,” Lapid said.

“This problem is even more felt by students who come from distant countries and who have to travel and move to study. They need to be able to have a source of funding for their accommodation, books and other expenses while in school,” he added.

Lapid said the bill, when enacted, would require the national government to establish a loan guarantee fund on student loans that would be provided by the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines.

He noted that while RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Higher Education Act contributes significantly to making quality education accessible to all by providing free tuition and fee waivers to students from state colleges and universities, other factors hinder the achievement of this desired goal.

One such barrier is the cost of living and other education-related expenses that discourage qualified students from families below the poverty line from considering pursuing higher education.

The CLEF program is a long-term personal loan program designed to cover the living expenses of Filipino students, including room and board, living allowance, transportation expenses, food expenses, uniforms and personal clothing, books and supplies, internet and digital connectivity. and other miscellaneous expenses.

The bill stipulates that the CLEF program will be made available to all Filipino students who are either enrolled at the time the law comes into force or are eligible to enroll at any time thereafter, at courses leading to a bachelor’s degree at any institution of higher learning. accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

Each eligible student is entitled to a maximum loan amount of P50,000 per semester and up to a maximum of P400,000 for up to five years of university enrollment. The loan will have a maximum term of 25 years and an interest rate lower than the prevailing interest rate, at the discretion of the disbursing financial institutions.

“It is the right of every Filipino to have the opportunity to benefit from a quality education and the right of every student to receive all the help that the government can provide. It is a great thing that tuition is free in colleges and universities across the country, but we know that apart from tuition, college students have many other needs to complete their education. This is where the loan that I would like to put in place for our students comes in – a loan that can be granted quickly to each student who applies for it and a loan that does not take a long time to repay because the interest on this one will be small,” Lapid pointed out.

According to the bill, administration of the CLEF program will be a shared responsibility between CHED – which will process and approve loan application requirements for eligible students – and disbursing financial institutions, which will release amounts based on a schedule. disbursement approved. agree with the student.

Cultural education

Meanwhile, Senator Loren Legarda introduced Senate Bill 242 or the Cultural Education Program (CEP) Act of 2022 to integrate Filipino arts and culture into the nation’s education system.

“Our culture is the narrative that binds Filipinos, regardless of ethnicity, class or background, in a common chronicle of traditions, trials and triumphs. It is our identity and, therefore, it must be preserved and passed on to the next generation,” Legarda said.

Under the bill, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts will work with the Ministry of Education, CHED and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to formulate and implement plans and programs that will mainstream and integrate Filipino arts and culture into the national education system. .

Legarda said a CEP will be created to develop and implement an enhanced special program for the arts; integrating indigenous knowledge systems, skills and practices through the institutionalization of the appropriate Living Traditions Schools (SLT) model into the formal education system; support DepEd’s K-12 curriculum in both formal and informal systems and introduce culture-based technical and vocational courses.

She said the government has taken concrete steps to address the need to safeguard the country’s intangible cultural heritage through the establishment of SLTs.

“However, our culture has a fundamental role and function as the foundation of our nation. We must further develop the unique and diverse cultural heritage of our country through this measure,” she added.

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