Senator Bam Aquino urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to heed the Senate’s call to implement the free college law in the second semester of school year 2017-18 to help alleviate the plight of Filipino families.
Last Monday, the Senate unanimously adopted Sen. Bam’s Resolution No. 620, which rallied the Upper Chamber to express a united front in support of the full implementation of the free college law.
“Nagkaisa ang Senado na manawagan sa CHED na gawing libre na ang tuition pati miscellaneous fees sa SUCs, ipatupad na ang batas as soon as possible,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
“Hindi nila napatupad sa napagkasunduang timeline, kaya ang kompromiso natin ay refund. Dapat lang ibalik ng mga SUC ang anumang tuition fee at miscellaneous fee na siningil nila sa mga estudyante,” Sen. Bam added.
Sen. Bam reiterated that during the bicameral conference committee for RA 10931, representatives from both Houses of Congress expressly agreed on the legislative intent to implement it by the second semester of 2017-18.
In addition, Sen. Bam reminded CHED of its assurance during the budget deliberation for RA 10931 that the P41 billion budget for its implementation was sufficient to cover the tuition and other fees in SUCs starting second semester of 2017-18.
“May pondo na, ito ang gusto ng parehong executive at ng legislative, nararapat lang na ipatupad na ng CHED ang libreng kolehiyo,” said Sen. Bam.
Principally sponsored by Sen. Bam, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run vocational schools. Under the law, students of both public and private college and universities can also apply for scholarship grants and student loans.
The measure was languishing in the legislative mill for years before it was passed during Sen. Bam’s time as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress. This was Sen. Bam’s 19th law in his four years as senator.