DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman (File photo)

MANILA – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman approved Wednesday a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) amounting to PHP3.41 billion to the Department of Labor and Employment - Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (DOLE-TESDA) for the implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE) Act.

In a news release, the agency said the SARO and its corresponding Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) shall be used to cover the cost of tertiary education for all Filipino students enrolled in Technical Vocational Institutions registered under the TESDA.

Pangandaman said the timely release of funds is one of the government’s initiatives to empower Filipinos since the Marcos administration puts a high premium on the education of Filipinos and human capital development.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in his budget message earlier said, “We will upskill and reskill our labor force by implementing measures that support continuing education, digital learning, training and redeployment.”

“The best investment for the youth of our country is education. Malaking tulong po ang Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education sa ating mga mag-aaral (The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education is a big help to our students). This will ensure that no Filipino student is left behind.”

The amount, which is chargeable against DOLE-TESDA’s regular budget under the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA), will cover the payment of tuition fees, miscellaneous fees, accident insurance, trainee provision, health/protective equipment, internet allowance, starter tool kits, national assessment fees and other school fees of beneficiaries for the year.

The DOLE-TESDA has 54,783 target beneficiaries for the UAQTE program in FY 2023 which will be implemented through Diploma Programs nationwide. (PNA)