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GenSan council pushes city college plan forward

The dream of General Santos City Mayor Lorelie Pacquiao to establish a city-owned tertiary learning institution hurdled second reading in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, thanks to her allies.

But before its passage, some council members raised concern that the city college plan was railroaded supposedly to accommodate the wishes of the local chief executive during the 90th regular session on Tuesday.

City Councilor Jose Edmar Yumang noted the failure of the joint committees on education, finance, and laws, to invite and consult the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Budget and Management.

“In fact, there was a suggestion here that we should invite the CHED. But on the succeeding committee hearings, na-approve agad without inviting CHED or from the, maybe from the Department of Budget and Management,” Yumang said.

The official also expressed concern about how the city government will sustain the operation of the proposed city college.

“Nabalanse ba natin? Kasi mayroon na tayong EduKar – P120 million na po ang nabigay natin. Much better na iyon, kasi meron tayong scholarship programs, if we will build our school, maganda po yan, tanong, ma-sustain kaya natin?,” Yumang added.

In response, SP majority leader Richard Atendido reminded his colleagues that the creation of a city college is one of the visions of Mayor Pacquiao. He said they have hired a consultant from the University of Makati to help craft the measure.

“This is one of the visions, one of the pangarap of the honorable city mayor to create our own college,” he said.

Atendido also admitted the need to pass the proposed ordinance in order to beat the June 30 deadline for the application of the letter of intent to the CHED. City Councilor Dominador Lagare, Jr, an ally of the administration, also admitted that he was surprised by the speedy passage of the measure.

“I’m quite surprised, initially, why we are passing this now. I was awaiting for the next committee hearing, because there are many pending issues, but now it has been answered that there’s a June 30 deadline,” Lagare also admitted.

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