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Solons laud Congress ok of free college bill, urge immediate signing by President

1 June 2017 No Comment
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France Castro lauded the ratification of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education in the plenary sessions of the Lower House and the Senate Monday and Tuesday.  They urged President Duterte to immediately sign the bill into law so the youth can avail of free college as soon as possible.
The ratified bill exempts from tuition and miscellaneous and other school fees students in bachelor degree and undergraduate courses in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) and students in post-secondary technical-vocational education training leading to non-degree and diploma programs of state technical vocational institutions (TVIs).  It also provides for tertiary education subsidy (TES) to students in undergraduate post-secondary courses in SUCs, LUCs, private higher education institutions, and TVIs.  The TES covers allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and other personal expenses related to education aside from tuition and other school fees.
Tinio, a member of the bicameral panel that finalized the bill prior to ratification, said that the bill is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education.
“We credit this victory to the collective action of the youth, teachers and other sectors of society who pushed for government to fulfil its mandate to provide accessible and quality education at all levels including tertiary education,” he said.  “We maintain our vigilance to ensure that, once enacted, free college will be properly implemented and sufficiently funded.”
“We now urge President Duterte to make the signing of this bill his top priority and to provide more funds to SUCs and other HEIs starting with the 2018 budget.  We call on his administration to include the funds necessary to implement free higher education in the proposed 2018 budgets of our SUCs, the Commission on Higher and Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” stressed Castro, noting that the Executive branch is now finalizing its proposal for next year’s budget.  “Let us send more youth to college, Mr. President.”
“We hope that the Duterte administration will also prioritize attaining a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education,” Castro added.  “Free higher education is only the first step, but government has to also establish an education system that is democratized and serves national sovereignty, industrial modernization, and economic redistribution.  It should espouse among the youth a critical culture to fight dogma and discourses that legitimize social injustice.” ###

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