Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara is urging local government units (LGUs) to allocate more local resources for education and assume greater responsibility in ensuring that every student in their respective communities will have access to quality public education.
"LGUs must take the lead in making sure that every child in the community completes a good public education, not only in elementary and high school but also in college," said the lawmaker, who is running under the platform "Alagang Angara."
Angara said that LGUs across the country should lead in pouring in more funds to develop learning institutions that could provide students free and quality public education.
He said the LGUs should think of "universal education as a wise investment with extremely large potential returns."
The Harvard-educated lawmaker strongly believes that education is a great socioeconomic equalizer and that well-educated children are at the heart of healthy, productive and prosperous societies.
"A good education is the most powerful tool we can give our children to help them escape poverty and lead happier, healthier and productive lives. If that is the future we want tomorrow, we must invest today," Angara said.
Free public education - from kindergarten to college - is one of Angara's advocacies. He co-authored the Free College Education Law and the Free Kindergarten Law, while his father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, authored of the Free High School Act that ensured secondary education even for the poorest.
The young Angara is also one of the authors of the proposed Student Fare Discount Act, which institutionalized and expanded the 20-percent student fare discount to include air and sea transport. The measure is now awaiting President Duterte's signature.
Proof that the Angaras put premium on education, the senator studied at the London School of Economics, where he finished his undergraduate degree in International Relations. After completing his law degree at the University of the Philippines College of Law, Angara went to the Harvard Law School in the United States to earn his Master of Laws degree.
"Everyone who has the desire and the ability should be able to get a college education regardless of their background and family income," Angara said.
Under Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which Angara co-authored, tuition and miscellaneous fees in 112 SUCs, 78 LUCs, and all government-run technical-vocational schools nationwide are now free for all students.
According to Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and vice chair of the Committee on Finance, earlier disclosed that the government is spending a whopping P46 billion to implement RA 10931 this year, making it the biggest budget for free college education in Philippine history.
Aside from the Free College Law budget, P1 billion was allotted in the 2019 national budget for the scholarship of poor and deserving students in private universities and colleges all over the country.
Source: Senate of the Philippines