Law needed to make free tuition in SUCs part of annual budget – Bam Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – Even though more than P8 billion is allocated for free college tuition in 2017, Senator Paolo Bengino Aquino emphasized that a law still needs to be passed so that it will be implemented annually.

“Malaking bagay po ang dagdag na budget na ito but hopefully, by next year, we can do the accompanying law na maglalaan ng regular na pondo para rito bawat taon,” Aquino said in a news release on Sunday, December 18.

(The additional budget is a big thing but hopefully, by next year, we can do the accompanying law that will provide funds for this every year.)

In the 2017 national budget approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, an additional P8.3 billion is allocated to provide free educaton in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Aquino, chairman of the Senate education committee, is hoping that the measure on free tuition in SUCs will be passed by February or March.

The senator is author of Senate Bill No. 177 or the Free Higher Education for All Act. Five other proposed legislations are also pushing for the same cause, all pending at the committee level.

Aside from Aquino, other Senators who authored this proposal include Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Loren Legarda, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Francis Pangilinan.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Executive Director Julito Vitriolo, meanwhile, said that free education in SUCs will harm the viability of private institutions, predicting an exodus from private to public schools. He also stressed that the Constitution only provides for free elementary and secondary education. (READ:Recto: CHED row won't affect free tuition in SUCs)  –

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.