Press Release
February 22, 2023


Senator Chiz Escudero, chair of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, on Wednesday (Feb. 22) has asked his colleagues to pass Senate Bill 1359, per Committee Report No. 6, that prohibits the "no permit, no exam" policy imposed by some educational institutions, calling this practice the "cruelest of fines."

Aside from banning the "no permit, no exam" rule, SB 1359 also prohibits the imposition of any policy that prevents students enrolled in public or private schools from taking examinations or any form of educational assessment for reasons of outstanding financial or property obligations such as unpaid tuition and other school fees.

"Curriculum is not the only thing ladderized in our schools--matriculation, too. Sadly, many students fall from the rungs, not because they do poorly in class, but because they are poor in life. The involuntary dropping out happens when tuition and other school fees are not paid on time. And often, the penalty for that failure is that the student is prohibited from taking the examination," Escudero said in his sponsorship speech at the plenary.

"By any moral yardstick, forcing a student to forfeit an exam is the cruelest of fines. It triggers a chain of events that is sometimes life-altering for the student, for the worse, not only of denied diplomas but also of dead dreams," he added.

Specifically, Section 6 of the proposed bill prohibits the following acts committed by any educational institutions:

  • Disallowing any student with outstanding financial or property obligations from taking examinations or any form of educational assessment with the rest of the student body;

  • Requiring any student to secure a permit to take an examination or any form of education assessment from the school authorities prior to the administration of such examination or assessment;

  • Compelling any student or his or her parents or legal guardians to pay a portion of the outstanding financial or property obligations prior to the administration of any examination or assessment; or

  • Imposing fines, penalties or interests on outstanding financial or property obligations in excess of the prescribed maximum interest.

Section 4 of the proposed measure states that, unless waived by the educational institutions concerned, the outstanding financial or property obligations shall bear an interest rate not exceeding six percent (6%) per annum computed from the date of the examination taken by the students until the date when such obligations are paid.

The penal provision of the bill states that teachers would not be included in any charges to be filed. Only the school management will be held liable.

The penalty ranges from P20,000 to P50,000 for every violation.

"A family who misses paying the mortgage of their condo is not immediately evicted. On the contrary, banks throw them a lifeline. Now let me ask: If consideration is given to those who have borrowed millions, why can't the same be extended to students whose arrears are in the mere thousands only?" Escudero asked.

"Even government has participated in bail outs--legislated even--not just for one company, but entire industries. If companies viewed as too big to fail must be helped, why can't the same generosity be extended to a student who is too bright to fail but too poor to pay tuition?" he pointed out.

The veteran legislator, however, stressed SB 1359 does not mandate tuition forgiveness as it does not erase a student's debt to schools. It only calls for the deferment of its payment while the student is allowed to take the examination.

"Para maprotektahan naman ang mga paaralan, may probisyon dito na maaaring pumirma ng promissory note ang mag-aaral o kanyang magulang," Escudero said.

To guarantee that financial obligations are settled, the educational institution may withhold the release or issuance of grades, diplomas or certificates; refuse to issue applicable clearances; or deny enrolment.

"Sapat na po sigurong mga collateral 'yan. In fact, what is withheld as security guarantee by the school is of high value because it is a future career that will yield income, and with that at stake, it is guaranteed that it will be redeemed," he said.

SB 1359 is the harmonized version of the bills filed separately by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and senators Cynthia Villar, Ramon Revilla, Jr., and Ronald de la Rosa.

News Latest News Feed