CHED to tap SUCs for forums on federalism, charter change
MANILA, Philippines – The 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country may soon expect to host a number of meetings and forums on the proposed shift to federalism.
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) officer-in-charge Prospero de Vera III said on Friday, February 16 that he has offered the SUCs network to help the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) amend the 1987 Constitution.
“We’re going to mobilize the SUCs for the charter change issue because the state university network is the most logical network for information dissemination. You’re talking of 112 SUCs [with] more than 300 campuses. All of those campuses have a venue for meetings, for forums, etcetera,” said De Vera on the sidelines of the first Philippines-United Kingdom Transnational Education Conference and Education Fair held on Friday, February 16.
The CHED commissioner said he has been speaking to Con-Com chairperson and former Supreme Court chief justice Reynato Puno over the past two weeks to finalize the plan.
“So we’re going to launch that initiative early next month,” said De Vera.
He also said the University of the Philippines is set to open the doors of its campus in the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig for Con-Com members to meet with constitutionalists and other experts regarding charter change.
According to De Vera, holding forums and meetings in SUCs will make it easier for the government to properly inform young Filipinos about charter change and how it will affect them. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Federalism in PH – what Duterte’s party is proposing)
More importantly, said De Vera, the SUCs provide a strategic opportunity for the government to tap experts from every region.
He said this would allow discussions to dig deeper into how the proposed shift to federalism would shape government programs in the regions like education, economy, and social services.
“Because one frustration that a lot of people have about discussions on federalism is that we’re only talking about the political side. But the more substantial side – how will education look like, how will social work look like, what are the economic realities in the region – the ones who can provide answers to that are actually the universities in the region that are experts,” said De Vera.
“This idea of getting people from Metro Manila to talk about federalism all over the country is not a very efficient system. There are a lot of very good experts in all state universities and colleges, experts in particular fields that can be tapped,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has long championed for federalism, which he says would decentralize power and wealth away from “Imperial Manila” and further empower the rest of the regions. (READ: Will federalism address PH woes? Pros and cons of making the shift)
The Con-Com members whom Duterte appointed aim to submit their report on possible amendments to the Constitution by the President’s 3rd State of the Nation Address this July. – Rappler.com