By Mario Casayuran
The signing into law by President Duterte of the proposed ‘’Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act’’ would eliminate the need for political patronage before a student could enroll at State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and local universities and colleges (LUCs).
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV issued the statement as members of Congress await the signing into law by the executive branch the proposed free education measure after both the Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the measure.
Ratification of the report on the measure was made by the bicameral conference committee just before both Houses of Congress went into a seven-week sine die adjournment.
“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,” Aquino said. (First, all students will be granted help in entering the colleges or universities. Thus, the need for request from politicians before a student can enter college or university will no longer be valid.)
Aquino said enactment of the bill into law would hopefully decrease patronage in the provision of scholarships.
He said the final version of the measure 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.
Sen. Francis Escudero, new Senate education committee chairman, and Aquino led the Senate panel to the bicameral conference committee.
Other members of the panel were Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
If enacted into law, it would institutionalize free tuition and other fees in SUCs and LUCs all over the country, giving underprivileged students a chance to earn a college degree, Aquino said
Aquino said the measure would also make scholarship grants available to students of both public and private college and universities.