Senator Win Gatchalian on Wednesday vowed to fight for the allocation of PHP 15 billion in the 2018 national budget to fund the continuation of the free tuition program in state universities and colleges (SUCS) as the Senate prepares to begin budget deliberations.
"The lack of funding for the free tuition program in the proposed budget submitted by Malacanang can be addressed by creating another budget insertion," explained Gatchalian, similar to the one included by the Senate in the 2017 budget.
Based on informal discussions with his colleagues on the sidelines of Tuesday's Senate session, Gatchalian expressed confidence that a majority of senators would support moves to make the necessary adjustments in the budget to continue the free tuition program currently being implemented for the 2017-2018 school.
"At this point, we have the numbers to make it happen," he maintained.
One of the main proponents of the Affordable Higher Education for All Act, the landmark free tuition measure which passed the Senate earlier this year, the senator reminded the administration that expanding access to higher education among poor and working-class households should be one of the central pillars of its socio-economic agenda.
"I have said it time and time again: a college education is one of the strongest weapons a person can wield in the fight against the inter-generational evil of poverty. I urge the Duterte administration to take this maxim to heart by devoting more resources to expanding access to educational opportunities at the tertiary level," said Gatchalian.
Source: Senate of the Philippines