Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday emphasized the importance of ensuring that the 2024 National Budget truly reflects the goal of fostering equal opportunities for all Filipinos.
Speaking on the second day of the Senate briefing of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) on the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024, Cayetano zeroed in on prioritizing the enhancement of the country’s education sector as a well-funded education system opens doors of opportunity and enables Filipinos to secure well-paying jobs and a stable future.
“All of us live in a country where your last name and where you were born matters. This is why the government is here as second parents to try to equalize opportunities,” the independent senator said.
“We all agree that when the education system becomes number one [in the budget priority], talagang gaganda ang buhay ng mga Pilipino. Much more opportunities will come,” he added.
Cayetano cited the example of the City of Taguig’s prioritization of education which has greatly improved the lives of its constituents.
“In Taguig, we have P800-900 million in scholarships and 88,000 scholars. Wala nang pinipili. Basta pagka-graduate mo, automatic may P15,000 ka. Kapag honor student, mayroon kang P10,000 more. If you are a priority school or course, you get P250,000. We used to have 20 students in UP Diliman, but now we have at least 700 at any point in time because they get P50,000, no questions asked,” he said.
Citing a Constitutional provision that directs the State to assign the highest budgetary priority to education, Cayetano asked for the commitment of the DBCC to ensure that the education budget will always remain higher than that of other departments.
“Can we ensure na hindi siya mas mataas sa total ng tatlong education sectors — TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority), CHED (Commission on Higher Education), at Department of Education? Because we don’t want to have to question the Bicameral Committee or not vote for it or question it in the Supreme Court,” Cayetano asked Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, who replied in the affirmative.