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Sign free higher ed law, Duterte urged

3 August 2017 No Comment

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ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged President Duterte to sign the Universal Access to Free Higher Education bill into law, saying that it will ensure regular funding for free college and greater access of the youth to higher education. This, after Duterte’s economic managers urged him to veto the bill.

The approved bill is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education. “Its passage by Congress is a victory of the youth, teachers and other sectors of society whose collective action pushed for a law providing for free higher education and for government to fulfill its mandate to provide accessible and quality education at all levels,” said the solons.

“We have already proven that government can provide funds to make free higher education possible when Congress allocated P8.3 Billion for free tuition in the 2017 budget,” Tinio said. “The President can now move forward and sign the bill approved by Congress, providing the Filipino youth their right to access tertiary education.”

The administration’s economic team, including budget secretary Benjamin Diokno, recommended a veto, saying that free tertiary education will have very little impact on the poor and society and that it will need P100 billion.

“We urge the President not to heed the wrong information of his advisers. In fact, tuition and other school fees are the main factors discouraging many Filipinos from going to college. Also, the 2018 projections of income from tuition and other fees is P13.2 Billion, according to the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, while CHED estimates that implementing the bill will only need around P34 Billion. Free college will therefore not cost P100 Billion, as Diokno alleges,” Castro countered.

“Any amount given to fund free higher education will be a worthwhile and long-term priority since it will contribute to the shaping of our youth and to nation building. Regular funding as ensured by a law for free tertiary education will make this possible,” Tinio ended. ###

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