ConCom mulls required college degree or equivalent for lawmakers

MANILA A sub-committee of President Rodrigo R. Duterte's Consultative Committee (Con-com) to review the 1987 Constitution is inclined to require members of the two chambers of the Congress to have a college degree or its equivalent in the new Constitution it is drafting.

In a press conference at the Philippie International Convention Center (PICC), Con-com Senior Technical Assistant and spokesperson Ding Generoso said this was among the provisions discussed by the body on Monday.

It was finalized in the sub-committee yesterday (Monday) that it's either college degree or its equivalent, Generoso said, adding that this provision will be submitted to the en banc for final approval.

Generoso said the degree equivalent will be based on the expanded tertiary education equivalency and accreditation program created under Executive Order (EO) No. 330 issued by former President Fidel Ramos in 1996.

The program is being administered by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as an integral part of the educational system.

It says that for individuals who were unlucky to get a college degree but who have accumulated work experience in a certain field or have undergone training in whatever forms, they may apply for equivalency, Generoso said.

Generoso explained that CHED has accredited tertiary institutions universities and colleges that have programs on equivalency.

He also pointed out that the Con-com adopted this provision realizing that a college degree, to most Filipinos, is beyond reach.

According to Generoso, only 10 percent of Filipinos are college graduates because of the high cost of education.

Generoso said Con-com did not want to limit the pool of talents for government service to individuals with college degrees.

If the requirement is simply for a college degree, the effect would be sort of limiting the pool of talents for government service to just 10 percent of the population. But there are a lot of people out there who have no degrees but who are competent and who excel. So they have to be part of the pool of choices for public servants, Generoso said.

Generoso said that the same requirement was also discussed previously for the President and Vice President, but a consensus is still to be reached.

Generoso said that the body is targeting to complete the first draft of the new Constitution by April 30 instead of the original target, April 20 due to the Holy Week.

The draft will then be presented to the public in regional and provincial consultations.

He said that after the consultations, the Con-com hopes to submit a proposed Constitution to Duterte by July 19, before he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA). (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency