Press Release
July 25, 2017

Sen. Bam disappointed free college bill not mentioned in SONA

"Nasaan ang libreng kolehiyo?"

Sen. Bam Aquino raised this question as he expressed disappointment over President Duterte's failure to mention free college education in his State of the Nation Address (SONA). "Marami pong umasa na babanggitin ni Pangulong Duterte ang napakaimportanteng repormang ito na magbibigay ng libreng edukasyon sa milyon-milyong Pilipino, lalo pa't pirma na lang niya ang kulang upang ito'y maisabatas. Nakakapanghinayang na hindi ito binanggit," said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam is still hopeful though that the president will decide to sign this bill into law.

He also mentioned he was happy with some pronouncements during the SONA, including enhancing support for the Armed Forces, improving government efficiency, providing free internet in public spaces which he also sponsored, and some legislative measures like the Land Use Act, BBL, as well as changes in mining policies.

But the senator stressed the need to prioritize free education and give more Filipinos access to a college degree and a brighter future.

"Isabatas na sana ang panukalang ito sa lalong madaling panahon," said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam is the principal sponsor and co-author of two measures up for the President's signature, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act and the Free Internet in Public Spaces Act.

As principal sponsor, Sen. Bam defended the measure in plenary debates and interpellation. He also stood as co-chairman of the Senate delegation to the bicameral conference committee, together with new Committee on Education chairman Sen. Francis Escudero. Other members of the Senate panel are Sens. Sherwin Gatchalian and Ralph Recto.

Once enacted into law, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act will institutionalize free tuition and other fees in SUCs and LUCs 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.

On the other hand, the Free Internet in Public Places measure will provide free internet access in all national and local government offices, public schools, public transport terminals, public hospitals and public libraries. Under the measure, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be mandated to craft a plan and a timeline for the rollout of this program.

News Latest News Feed