SBN 1304

Sen. Bam sees more access to higher education, high-paying jobs for Filipinos

If measure on free tuition in SUCs is enacted into law

If enacted into law, the measure providing free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) will lead to more college graduates and higher paying jobs, giving underprivileged students a chance at a brighter future, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.

“We’ve already passed the Affordable Higher Education for All Act in the Senate and we’re confident it will become law within the year,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of Senate Bill No. 1304.

“Kapag ito’y naisabatas, mas malaki na ang pagkakataon ng ating mga estudyante na makatapos ng kolehiyo at magkaroon ng magandang trabaho,” he added.

During his short stint as chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam defended the measure on the floor during plenary debates and interpellation. The measure was approved by the Senate on third and final reading via an 18-0 vote.

After the House passes its own version of the bill, a bicameral conference committee will be held to consolidate both versions. If the final version is ratified by both Houses, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for the President’s approval.

The measure aims to institutionalize free tuition in SUCs all over the country, giving underprivileged students a chance to earn a college degree.

 It will also streamline and strengthen all Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP), making it available to students who want to pursue higher education in private institutions, as well as subsidizing other expenses of SUC students.

Sen. Bam clarified that the measure is different from the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) released recently by the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management.

The senator said the IRR issued by the CHED and DBM was for the P8 billion earmarked in the 2017 budget for the free tuition fees in SUCs. 

The senator stated that under the currently allotted budget, only around half of the students in SUCs stand to benefit from free tuition.

However, if Senate Bill No. 1304 is passed into law, every SUC student can avail of free tuition. There will also be a mechanism for more financially-abled students to opt to pay for their tuition fee.

Bam: Happy to pass 2 major reforms before embracing minority role

In just eight months, Sen. Bam Aquino worked for the successful passage of two major reforms in the Senate.

 On Monday, the Senate passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1304 or the ” Affordable Higher Education for All Act “, which provides free tuition in state colleges and universities (SUCs), and Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.

 “Our eight months in the supermajority were very productive. I’m happy we passed two very important bills before embracing our new role as minority,” said Sen. Bam, now the deputy minority leader.

 Recently removed as chair of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam is the sponsor and co-author of the Affordable Higher Education for All Act and defended the bill during the period of interpellations.

 Legislative measures to mandate free tuition in SUCs have been sitting in the legislative mill for at least 6 years.

 Sen. Bam also sponsored the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, which is seen to complement the government’s approved national broadband plan to help improve Internet access across the country.

 “Now that we’re in the minority, our role will change. Pero hindi kami kokontra para lang kumontra.  We won’t just oppose policies that will be good for the country, we will propose improvements and look for better solutions,” said Sen. Bam.

 Sen. Bam opposes the revival of the death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9 years old.

Bam: Education for youth is the best investment

Education for the youth is the best investment our government can make.

Sen. Bam Aquino issued the pronouncement after several government agencies opposed the measure that seeks to provide free tuition fee in all SUCs. 

The senator affirmed the government’s commitment to provide free tuition in state colleges and universities, saying “If we have the money, why not invest in the future of our youth?”

 “The Senate has chosen this as one of its main priority measures in the 17th Congress,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education.

 “Too many students fail to graduate college because of financial problems. Suportahan natin ang mga estudyante na makapagtapos. Let’s give them a chance at a better life through education,” added Sen. Bam.

 “If we’re willing to spend over P15 billion to host the ASEAN anniversary this year, why shouldn’t we spend roughly the same amount to make tuition free for our students in SUCs?” the senator pointed out.

 Sen. Bam is the principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1304 or the “Free Higher Education for All Act”, which is currently being tackled in the plenary.

 Sen. Bam’s Senate Bill No. 177 was consolidated in Senate Bill No. 1304 together with other similar measures, which seek to provide free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.

 Aside from the Pagkaing Pinoy Bill, the Free Higher Education for All has received the most support in the 17th Congress.

 Along with Sen. Bam Aquino, other authors of the measure are Sens. Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Pangilinan, Sonny Angara, Loren Legarda, Leila de Lima, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon.

 Sens. Recto, Ejercito, Angara, Legarda, Villanueva, Gatchalian and Zubiri co-sponsored the measure.

 Providing free tuition fee in SUCs is only one of many reforms Sen. Bam is pushing in the field of education.

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