Atty. Roman T. Romulo, Congressman of the Lone District of Pasig and Chairman of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education of the House of Representatives, had a Press Conference in the evening of January 31, 2014 at the Guesthouse of the Visayas State University.  In front of the media practitioners from GMA 7, EV Mail, DYDC-FM, and VSU Information Office, Cong. Romulo explained in detail the three Bills that he passed and signed into Law in December 2014 that would surely benefit the Filipino people.  He appealed for a wider dissemination of the Bills among the media people.

These three Bills that he authored are: 

1) Iskolar ng Bayan Act in which the top ten graduates of every public high school in the Philippines will automatically be given scholarship by the national government to any state universities and colleges (SUCs) within the region where they earned their high school diploma.  According to Cong. Romulo, since the country has a total of 8,000 public high schools, this means that 80,000 high school students can avail of the scholarship. 

“We have a number of brilliant students in the remote areas in the different provinces throughout the country who were not given the opportunity to continue until college because of financial constraints. Through this Iskolar ng Bayan Act, they don’t need to go to anybody because they are already assured of their college scholarship,” the Congressman said.  He further said that for the first six years of the implementation of the Law, the top ten high school graduates will have an automatic admission to the SUC of their choice;

2) Open Distance Learning Act. This act would pave the way to those who don’t want to go through the traditional way of going to the classroom because they are tied up with their work to provide their personal and family needs.  Cong. Romulo stressed that they already mandated the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to start accrediting programs in the various higher education institutions that can offer open distance learning in the different programs offered in the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees to widen the access to everyone; and

3) Ladderized Education Act is an actthat would enable those who took vocational courses to take the National Competency Assessment Examination (NCI or NCII) which will be credited to their college education.  Romulo further said that out of 1.4 million graduates in high school, only 700,000 were able to go to college.  “We already mandated the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and CHED to coordinate with one another so that the programs of TESDA that can be ladderized towards college can be credited once they go to college, thus shortening the number of years in earning a baccalaureate degree.  TESDA is also mandated to improve the quality of courses that they are offering,” Cong. Romulo stressed.

Moreover, he said that there is also a Bill called the “Unifast Bill” that already passed the Third and Final Reading from the House of Representatives in which he is just waiting for the Senate version before the summer ends.  He pointed out that under the “Unifast Bill” any scholarship or grant-in-aid funded by the national government will only go through the Unifast Board without any political intervention.  The Unifast Board shall solely be composed of CHED, TESDA, DOST, DepEd, DOLE, and NEDA who will be responsible in crafting a set of guidelines for the availment of scholarship and grant-in-aid.   “This Bill does not only focus in academics, but also in sports and arts.  Through this, we can have a database of all the scholarships funded by the national government because, as of the moment, we don’t have a tracking system that would account how many scholars are supported by the government and where they are,” he added.  Cong. Romulo stressed that with the ASEAN 2015 at hand, there is really a need to make sure that access to quality education should be widened.  

Congressman Romulo eloquently responded to the questions raised by the mediamen after his presentation.

On the other hand, Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, VSU President, expressed his elation with the presence of the congressman and his wife Shalani Soledad-Romulo.  Dr. Bacusmo even extended an invitation to the lawmaker to visit again VSU especially during the amalgamation consultation which will be held in VSU for him to know more about the University.

Moreover, the Congressman of the Fifth District of Leyte, Engr. Jose Carlos L. Cari, was also around to welcome Cong. Romulo and his wife.  He mentioned that VSU is the pride of Baybay City and the entire Region 8.  JFMBaldos