A senator hopes free education in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) will discourage political patronage.
“Unang-una, lahat ng estudyante po bibigyan ng tulong. Kaya iyong palakasan sa mga pulitiko dahil iilan lang ang mabibigyan ng tulong, hindi na valid iyan,” Sen. Bam Aquino said during a press conference discussing the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
“Sa ganitong paraan, hindi na kailangang kumuha pa ng endorsement letters para magkaroon ng subsidy. Hopefully, that will help decrease patronage in the provision of scholarships,” added Sen. Bam.
The Senate and the House both ratified the bicameral conference committee report. It will now be transmitted to Malacanang for President Duterte’s approval.
According to Sen. Bam, the final version makes education in SUCs, LUCs and vocational schools under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) virtually free, with the government shouldering tuition, miscellaneous and other fees.
“Kapag ito’y naisabatas na, magiging state policy na libre na ang tertiary level education pagdating sa SUCs, LUCs at pati na sa vocational schools ng TESDA,” said Sen. Bam, who defended the measure in plenary debates and interpellation during his stint as chairman of the Committee on Education.
Sen. Bam was also the 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.
If enacted into law, it will institutionalize free tuition and other fees in SUCs and LUCs all over the country, giving underprivileged students a chance to earn a college degree.
It will also make scholarship grants available to students of both public and private college and universities.