Bill proposes issuance of education bonds for underprivileged children

STUDENTS of an elementary school in Marikina City, Metro Manila brave heavy rains on the second day of in-person classes on Oct. 25. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS

THE HOUSE committee on higher and technical education on Monday approved a bill that seeks to issue educational bonds worth P25,000 for each child born to an underprivileged family, with a maturity period of 18 years.    

House Bill 638 proposes that the bonds, with a fixed interest rate and non-transferable, be used for the beneficiary’s tertiary education in either a public or private institution.    

Under the measure, qualified beneficiaries must be part of a household included in the poverty data under the Community Based Monitoring System Act.    

“Despite the many financial assistance programs extended by the government and private sector to poor students, the education system remains plagued with deep inequalities,” Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, author of the measure, said in the bill’s explanatory note.   

The bill states that education bonds assigned to disqualified beneficiaries — such as those who are removed from the poverty list — will be placed on the auction one year after the date of maturity. The proceeds will revert to the National Treasury.   

The Commission on Higher Education will be appointed as trustee of the bond. It will oversee funds from the issuance of the bond.   

Funding for the proposed law will be appropriated from any funds not lodged into the budgets of any government agency. It will be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.   

“The primary objective of the proposed bill is to put up a mechanism, that is the issuance of government securities or treasury bonds that would guarantee future funds for the education of the underprivileged Filipino youth that is insulated from the vagaries of politics and economic uncertainties,” Mr. Salceda, who also chairs the House ways and means committee, said. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo