Don’t hold free college education hostage, government can afford free tuition even without the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
This was Sen. Bam Aquino’s reaction to the government’s statement that the free college education will be affected once the TRAIN Law is suspended.
“May iba namang pagkukunan ang gobyerno ng budget. Sa totoo lang malaki pa ang hindi nagagamit na pondo,” said Sen. Bam, one of the four senators who voted against the ratification of the TRAIN Law.
“Bakit kailangan i-hostage ang libreng kolehiyo? Tama na ang pagpapahirap sa taumbayan na nalulunod na sa pagtaas ng presyo,” added Sen. Bam who is principal sponsor of the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Sen. Bam insisted that the government has enough funds for the continued implementation of the free college education, even without the P70 billion expected revenue from the rollback of the excise tax on petroleum products under the TRAIN Law.
Sen. Bam also reminded the administration that underspending, or the allotted funds that were left untouched by government agencies, reached P390 billion for 2017. The budget for free college education was set at P41 billion for 2018.
“Mahalaga na alam ng pangulo ang totoong numero. Mahirap nang magdesisyon kapag mali mali ang binibigay na impormasyon,” Sen. Bam stressed.
Sen. Bam recalled that government economic managers told the Senate during TRAIN deliberations that inflation will not breach the four-percent mark. Last month, the country’s inflation reached 4.6 percent.
“Ang paglalaan ng pondo ay batay sa mga prayoridad ng gobyerno. Kung hindi nila bibigyan ng pondo ang libreng kolehiyo, ibig sabihin, hindi ito mahalaga para sa kanila,” Sen. Bam maintained.
“Isa pa, hindi namin hahayaan sa Senado na hindi mapondohan ang batas na ito, na layong suportahan ang mahihirap ng Pilipino na umasenso sa tulong ng edukasyon,” added Sen. Bam.