Senator Nancy Binay today called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to help the Senate in finding ways to initially subsidize tuition of students in state colleges and universities.
Binay's challenge was in response to the statement given by the DBM and Administration economic managers that free tuition in SUCs is too costly for government to shoulder.
Binay said she believes that "DBM can help the Senate in finding a mathematical solution to initially kickstart the Free Higher Education Act without affecting other priority programs of the Administration."
"We, in the Senate, are seriously committed in realizing every Filipino family's aspiration of a free college education. We promise to find ways to allot P15 billion in the 2018 national budget," Binay stressed.
She added that DBM's statement that government cannot afford to fund free college education is obscure and out of sight.
"Nagawan po ng paraan ng Senado na mabigyan ng P8 billion sa 2017 budget. Huwag naman sanang gawing dead-end ang pagbibigay ng libreng matrikula sa mga estudyante ng SUCs dahil lamang sinabi ng DBM na walong pondo para dito," Binay noted.
Binay likewise appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte not to veto Senate Bill No. 1304, or the Free Higher Education For All Act.
"Every parent is praying that the President would finally sign the free higher education bill. I hope the President does not veto the measure. We can't just give up without giving it a try. Sayang naman ang nasimulan na natin," Binay said.
According to the senator, little sacrifices and small realignments in the 2018 national budget can redound to huge positive steps towards the Administration's goal of free tertiary education.
"If P1.13 trillion outlines the government's 'Build, Build, Build' infrastructure program for 2018, then, why can't we outline a measly P15 billion to initially subsidize tuition in SUCs?" she asked. "Let's not further burden the parents of those poor but deserving students."
Binay is strongly pushing for the continued funding of free tuition in state universities and colleges nationwide.
Source: Senate of the Philippines