THE House Committee on Higher and Technical Education has approved the proposal to grant a P5,000 one-time cash grant to new graduates.
The approval at the committee level is just a step towards a lengthy legislative process of enacting a proposal into law – the House and the Senate need to pass separate bills and consolidate them into a single law.
Committee oks HB 6542
According to the daily bulletin of the House of Representatives, the higher education committee chair and Baguio City Rep. Mark Go approved House Bill 6542 during a committee hearing February 20.
The bill’s author is House Deputy Speaker and Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar.
Rep. Go approved the bill and the corresponding committee report but with a caveat that it will be “subject to style and amendment.”
What’s in the proposed law
“This bill seeks to complement and help fresh graduates by giving them a one-time cash grant in the amount of Php 5,000.00 which they can use as productivity/earnest fund,” Villar wrote in the explanatory note.
She said because of the pandemic, students or their parents may not have enough cash to commute and apply for jobs and pay for rentals to settle in apartments if they get a job outside their homes.
“While some would label the grant as means of a dole-out, the higher purpose is actually investment in the emerging labor force which is for the best interest of the State,” she added.
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DBM, CheD on the proposal
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Budget and Management Analyst Geane Lara Cabatana, who was present during the committee hearing, said the department needs to study first the fiscal implications of the proposed law.
The House committee and the DBM should gather data on the total number of public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) and technical vocational institutions whose graduates will be covered by the ayudas.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) estimated that there are 345,110 graduates from both public and private higher HEIs across all programs for Academic Year 2020-2021.
The DBM stressed they need to know the numbers to compute the bill’s total budgetary requirement better.
If the CHeD estimates holds, the needed budget allocation would be P1.725 billlion.
CHED Executive Director Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro expressed her support for the bill.
However, Benitez-Jaro suggested the inclusion in the bill of a provision mandating the establishment of a database on the total number of beneficiaries per academic year.
When asked if CHED can head the inter-agency body to monitor the implementation of the ayuda, Benitez-Jaro said this would require additional funding for CHED for it to carry out this additional role/function.