MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevara said President Rodrigo Duterte signed last night the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act following a meeting with his economic advisers.
“I am pleased to announce that last night, August 3, 2017, the president signed into law the enrolled bill,” Guevarra said.
Under the new law, the government will be able to provide free tuition to students of state universities and colleges (SUCs) and even those enrolled in vocational schools across the country.
Although the chief executive’s economic team opposed the said measure, Guevarra said the president believes signing it would have a huge impact on the country’s development.
“Free tertiary education in state universities and colleges is a pillar or cornerstone of the president’s social development policy. So he weighed everything and came to the conclusion that the long-term benefits that will be derived from a well-developed tertiary education will definitely outweigh any possible short-term budgetary challenges,” Guevarra said.
Senator Bam Aquino, the principal sponsor and co-author of the measure, thanked the president for approving the free SUC tuition bill.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said deserving students will finally have the chance to go to college for free.
For Senator Vicente Sotto III, this is an important day for the country’s educational system, while Senator Francis Escudero noted the new law can be considered as among the legacies of the Duterte administration.
President Duterte’s approval of the SUC bill will prompt Congress to make some changes in the 2018 proposed national budget to include funding for the new legislation. — Macky Libradilla | UNTV News & Rescue