Sen. Bam: Free college education to become a law August 5 or earlier

Sen. Bam Aquino expects the measure providing free education in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and tech-voc schools to become a law on August 5 or earlier.

According to Sen. Bam, the ratified version of the measure was transmitted to the Office of the President for Duterte’s approval on July 5. Unless President Duterte vetoes it or signs it earlier, it will automatically lapse into law after 30 days or on August 5.

“Mas maganda kung ito’y pipirmahan ng Pangulo nang maaga upang maibalita niya sa sambayanang Pilipino sa kanyang State of the Nation Address (SONA) sa ika-24 ng Hulyo,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of the Senate version of the measure during his stint as chairman of the Committee on Education.

 As committee chairman, Sen. Bam defended the measure in plenary debates and interpellation. He also acted as co-chairman of the Senate delegation to the bicameral conference committee, together with new Committee on Education chairman Sen. Francis Escudero. Other members of the Senate panel are Sens. Sherwin Gatchalian and Ralph Recto.

 Once enacted into law, Sen. Loren Legarda, chairman of the Finance Committee, promised to earmark the necessary budget for its effective implementation, according to Sen. Bam.

 If passed into law, education in SUCs, LUCs and vocational schools under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will be virtually free, with the government shouldering tuition, miscellaneous and other fees.

 It will also make scholarship grants available to students of both public and private college and universities.The measure also has a loan program, where students can apply for financing for other education expenses.

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