Lawmakers hail approval of free tuition in SUCs

MANILA-- Several lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte's signing into law of the bill that would provide free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Most House members, from both the majority and minority blocs, described the signing of the landmark law as a victory for the youth, for the people, and for the future generations.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate praised the President for heeding the call of the people rather than the recommendations of his economic managers.

Zarate urged Congress to figure out how to source funds for free tuition in state schools, while calling on SUCs to stop collecting tuition from students.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago, while commending the signing of the Free College Education Law, stressed the need to keep vigilant on possible limits that may be inserted in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the new law.

"Not a peso should be collected if we want to actualize the real spirit of the new law," Elago said.

Valenzuela City Rep. Wes Gatchalian said Duterte's move made the dream of having a college education a tangible reality.

"With this single mechanical act, he (Duterte) has turned years of what once were unfulfilled dreams into the tangible reality of having a college education. This is our victory as a people for together we worked to hold true to our hope na sa kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan!," Gatchalian said.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said this is a victory for the youth and students who have relentlessly fought for the right to free education over the years.

Villarin also urged the youth as future leaders to inspire courage and empathy for the poor especially in these extraordinary times.

To young Filipinos: Your future is yours alone to build. You need to seize the moment and make the most out of it. You owe it to the future young generations, Villarin added.

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio commended Duterte for siding with the people, noting that this is a historic victory in our fight for the people's right to education.

Gabriela solons, Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, said the signing into law of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act is a step forward in ensuring the nation's future through investing in the youth's education.

The Gabriela solons pledged to ensure that the new law will be taken into consideration in the ongoing budget deliberations in the lower chamber.

Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque expressed gratitude to President Duterte for taking a big step toward making education accessible to all.

"I laud President Rodrigo Duterte for recognizing the duty of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education," Roque added.

Roque pointed out that the next steps to be made are the overhaul of the basic educational system as well as raising the caliber of faculty, facility, curriculum and research development to make them at par with international counterparts.

Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the newly-signed law not only addresses the needs of students in public colleges and universities but also the needs of underprivileged students who would fail to make the cut in SUCs.

Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento said the free college education law is a game-changer in efforts to improve the Filipino people's way of life.

"A free but quality tertiary education would help even the poorest of the poor defeat poverty. With a free college education, the poor can have a better chance to uplift them. It empowers them not to lose hope that they can still have a better life," Sarmiento said.

Source: Philippine News Agency