CHED Chairman Prospero “Popoy” E. De Vera III, together with UniFAST Executive Director, Atty. Ryan Estevez, CHED XI Regional Director, Dr. Maricar R. Casquejo, cycled from the Municipality of Bansalan to Digos City last October 15, 2021, brushing aside the scorching heat of the sun and the sudden outpouring of rain covering a distance of 38.4 kilometers. It was participated by Higher Education Institution (HEI) Presidents/Heads, Faculty, Staff, and Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) beneficiaries.

De Vera, known for his advocacy of claiming victories for HEIs in the country through Padyak activities, visited different regions. Davao Region was the third to the last Region he had visited so far. Padyak was also his means of seeing firsthand the situations and necessities of students and HEIs in the country and listening to the stories of TES beneficiaries, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This year, we will have our first batch of graduates who didn’t pay their tuition fees from first year to fourth year of their studies in Public State Colleges and Universities. Then this is also the right time for us to claim victory in Philippine Higher Education because we’ve already produced graduates through Free Higher Education. We call it “Padyak” because a bicycle always goes forward and it doesn’t have a reverse. Therefore, like a bicycle, we should keep moving forward to succeed,” De Vera Stated. While cycling from Bansalan to Digos City, he visited two TES scholars. One of them was Marilou Duhaylungsod, a 43 yr. old mother who was able to have a second chance to study in College because of the government scholarship or TES by virtue of RA 10931.

The law was intended for students who want to continue learning in CHED-recognized HEIs but do not have the financial resources. Duhaylungsod avails of free tuition and also receives additional funds to support her allowances and other educational expenses Aside from the TES grantees he visited, De Vera met and greeted students and HEI administrators and staff along the way.

The “Padyak in Davao Region” was participated by 17 HEIs with bikers who support the advocacy of CHED Chairman De Vera. A total of 154 bikers cycled the road in Davao del Sur to champion the victories of Higher Education in the Philippines. (SGD.) MARICAR R. CASQUEJO, Ph.D., CESO III Director IV.