Ungab insists on pushing for DRSUS bill


By Anthony S. Allada

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab said he was not perturbed by the strong opposition of students over his proposed House Bill 5311 or an act to establish the Davao Regional State University System (DRSUS).

This came after hundreds of students at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) sought the intervention of San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada to convince Ungab not to push for the bill as it is reportedly detrimental for them.

Estrada, who visited USEP Tuesday last week for a talk, promised them to personally talk with Ungab over the matter as soon as possible.

“As a matter of parliamentary courtesy it is not my intention to interfere the agenda of my colleague at the congress. But my only wish to talk with him personally and try to convince him on the disadvantages of the bill,” Estrada was quoted as saying during his visit.

He said that he would like also to inquire from Ungab the rationale of filing the bill which was met with strong opposition from the student sector in the city.

When asked if Estrada already met him, Ungab confirmed, saying “Yes, I met him at the airport but I explained to him that amalgamation is the product of a long study by CHED (Commission on Higher Education) and that DRSUS is intended to improve the quality of higher education in the entire region.”

“In fact, USEP is also a product of amalgamation from the old Davao Trade School of Arts and Trade. Regional University System is part of the reformed program of the administration for education,” he added.

He said though that the bill could only be tackled by the next congress since he was so preoccupied with the Sin Tax debates.

“It is actually an administration bill supported by the CHED and NEDA (National Economic Development Authority),” he said.

The DRSUS shall integrate four state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region, namely; University of Southeastern Philippines, Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology, Southern Philippines Agribusiness and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology and the Davao del Norte State College.

Ungab said the proposed house bill aims to reduce the number of SUCs in the country so as to maximize the limited budget for SUCs.

Earlier, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) believes that HB 5311 further justifies the continuous decrease in the budget of SUCs as the bill reportedly compromises the budget for college education in the detriment of the Filipino youth’s rights and welfare. (ASA)

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