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Angara bill seeks 5% off for poor students

Sen. Sonny Angara has filed a bill granting underprivileged students a five percent discount on food establishments, medicines, textbooks and school supplies, and tuition, miscellaneous, and other school fees.

Under Senate Bill 134, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government batted for the granting of discounts on basic and education services to underprivileged students on all levels, including those enrolled in technical vocational institutions.

“Not all deserving and underprivileged students who were able to get scholarships, grants, or loans get to finish their education because they lack the financial capacity to spend for their basic needs and other expenses related to their schooling,” Angara said in filing the bill.

Angara, who chaired the House Committee on Higher Education when he was still a representative of Aurora, said he filed the bill to ease students’ financial woes and help them cope with the high cost of education as well as daily school expenses.

He said aside from granting discounts on basic services, such as food and medicines, the proposed Underprivileged Students’ Discount Act of 2016 seeks to give underprivileged students discounts on educational expenses, such as tuition, miscellaneous, and other school fees, including books and school supplies.

“Considering that we now have a law giving discounts to senior citizens, it is high time that we consider the plight of our underprivileged students who are our nation’s future,” he said.

SB 134 tasks the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to determine the qualified tertiary or college and post-secondary tech-voc beneficiaries. Not covered by the bill are underprivileged students who fail to finish the course, have stopped their schooling, and previously convicted for any crime.

The bill provides for tax incentives to establishments that would grant discounts to underprivileged students, while establishments that would refuse to grant discounts would be penalized with one to four-week suspension of their license to operate and would be fined with not less than R20,000 but not more than P50,000.

“If passed into law, this Senate bill will definitely encourage students from financially struggling families to pursue their dreams by finishing their college education or their vocational trainings,” Angara said.
(Charissa M. Luci)