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Senate minority lauds OK of free SUC tuition

The minority bloc in the 24-member Senate lauded yesterday the signing by President Duterte of the landmark law granting universal access to college education.

The six-member minority bloc, however, warned that the opposition by the President’s own economic managers on the law might affect the full implementation of the statute that benefits thousands of students in State Colleges and Universities.

“The challenge now, however, is to ensure that the new law will be effectively and completely implemented in 112 State Colleges and Universities nationwide,” the bloc said.

“The new law will only become a reality if government allocates enough and accessible funding for SUCs nationwide. The Executive branch and Congress must work closely to make tertiary education accessible to all through tuition subsidies and financial assistance,” the bloc stressed.

“We hope that his economic managers would not bungle its implementation. Their cooperation is crucial to ensuring the success of this landmark law,’’ it added.

The Senate minority bloc is composed of Senators Franklin M. Drilon as the minority leader, Francis Pangilinan, Benigno Aquino IV, and Leila de Lima, all belonging to the Liberal Party; Antonio F. Trillanes IV; and Risa Hontiveros.

Meanwhile, opposition Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza thanked Duterte for signing the Free Tertiary Education bill.

“On behalf of the striving and deserving students of the many poor families of Northern Samar and Region 8, I laud and thank the President,” the veteran lawmaker said.

“Additionally, this law is a concrete implementation of the two constitutional mandates in Section 1 of Article 14 that ‘the State shall protect and promote the right of citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all’ and in Section 5 of the same article that ‘the State shall give the highest budgetary priority to education,’” he said. (Mario B. Casayuran and Ellson A. Quismorio)