Republic Act No. 10687 for Underprivileged but Deserving Filipino Students

“Economic prosperity and quality education for our children are inexorably linked.”
Jon Huntsman, Jr.

Despite the Philippine government’s unfavorable economic status, Philippine law still advocates the significant part of education as a catalyst for a nation’s favorable transformation. This is manifested in the newly delegated Republic Act No. 10687.

According to the country’s Official Gazette, UniFAST refers to Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education brought out as a directive called UniFAST Law covered under the Republic Act No. 10687 endorsed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on October 15, 2015.The main recipients of this decree are underprivileged but commendable college or university students through the Commission on Higher Education’(CHED)s endorsement.

Republic Act No. 10687converges all methods of government –funded Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) covering tertiary education’s scholarships, grants-in-aid and student loans to channel its operation to officially authorized groups.

The ultimate goal of unifying the modalities of government-funded financial assistance programs is to appropriately apportion and wisely utilize government funds which aims to directly enhance higher and technical education through deserving recipients. In conjunction with the ongoing program of the government on economic refurbishment, these government -funded StuFAPs will function as legitimate measures for the students to engage on the priority courses as earlier stipulated by the CHED for the country’s vision on economic development.

It was previously observed that the StuFAPs have been relished and misrepresented by some political leaders for partisan connections throughout the country which manifested adverse effects not to mention that many justifiable students were denied or never benefited from these educational opportunities which could have solved parents’ financial burdens in sending their children to acquire higher learning since StuFAPs were promulgated in the archipelago. With the creation of Republic Act No. 10687, it is hoped that the convergence of these will lead to auspicious results through strict observance and compliance of the required directive.

According to Gazette on its October 21, 2015 issue, “The idea of a harmonized financial assistance program emerged more than five years ago as a proposal of the NEDA-Social Development Committee, but the real work took place in 2013 after a comprehensive study was conducted by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies. CHED’s current Higher Education Reform Agenda, which deemed UniFAST a priority strategy for access, gave the necessary impetus.”

As a result, it was officially endorsed that the UniFAST will be administered by a board that include the heads of the CHED, Department of Science and Technology (DOST),Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DepEd) as co-chairs. The members will comprise chosen councils from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and National Youth Commission (NYC). With the advocacy of the chosen official technical secretariat, assurance of the program’s legitimate purposes in protecting students’ academic well-being are expected. And to be able to thoroughly implement this revamp, the board has formulated the following components as guideline priorities in their governance. These are “standard setting, client- targeting, fund allocation and prioritization which are based on supply-demand situations, prices and inflationary factors, government human resources development plan and current trends in internationally-shared human resources.”marvinwacnaglidawan@gmail.com