Sen. Bam: Free college education effective weapon vs poverty, crime, illegal drugs

Sen. Bam Aquino believes that the free college education law recently signed by President Duterte can be a long-term solution to poverty, crime and even illegal drugs.

"A college degree can unlock a better job and better livelihood for Filipino families. It is an effective weapon and long-term solution to combat poverty, crime and drugs," said Sen. Bam, the Senate's principal sponsor and co-author of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or Republic Act 10931

"Ngayong may pagkakataon na ang maraming Pilipino na makatapos ng libreng kolehiyo, mas malaki ang tsansa nilang makaahon sa kahirapan at umasenso," added Sen. Bam, who has been advocating for education, jobs and business as keys to lifting Filipinos out of poverty and giving them a chance at a better future.

Earlier, Sen. Bam thanked President Duterte for signing the important measure into law, saying that millions of Filipinos are the real winners with this revolutionary education reform. "Pagkatapos ng ilang dekada, batas na ang inaasam-asam ng napakaraming pamilyang Pilipino na libreng kolehiyo," said Sen. Bam, "Estudyante, magulang at pamilyang Pilipino ang tunay na bida ng batas na ito."

The measure was languishing in the legislative mill for years before it was passed during Sen. Bam's time as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress. This was Sen. Bam's 19th law in his four years as senator.

With this law, students will enjoy free education in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and vocational schools under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) starting the second semester of school year 2017-18. Aside from tuition fees, the government will shoulder miscellaneous and all other mandatory fees.

Scholarship grants will also be made available to students of both public and private college and universities. Plus, it provides a new and improved student loan program, where students can apply for financing for other education expenses.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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