Senator Loren Legarda’s Co-Sponsorship Speech
Free Higher Education for All Act
Senate Bill No. 1304, Committee Report 28
24 January 2017 | Senate of the Philippines
I have the honor to co-sponsor this landmark legislative measure which aims to institutionalize on a national scale the provision of a full tuition fee subsidy for students enrolled in all of the country’s 114 state universities and colleges.
Under the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017, this august chamber approved the amount of five billion seven hundred fifty three million five hundred thirty seven thousand pesos (P5,753,537,000.00) for the CHED’s Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) which covers both the Regular StuFAPs such as its Scholarship Program, Grants in Aid Program and Student Loan Program and Other StuFAPs like the Tulong Dunong and the Iskolar ng Bayan Program.
Moreover, an additional eight billion pesos (P8,000,000,000.00) has been appropriated for the CHED’s Higher Education Support Fund while another three hundred million pesos (P300,000,000.00) has been approved to serve as Cash Grants to Medical Students enrolled in the country’s SUCs offering the Doctor of Medicine Program.
With the passage of this bill, we will be legislating in effect the system or mechanism by which the funding for free tuition, already appropriated for this year, will be utilized. However, mindful of the government’s limited resources, we must also ensure that public funds will be used equitably and serve first the poorest of the poor.
I urge my colleagues to lend their valuable support so we can enact the best possible version of this bill as we seek to uphold the Constitutional mandate that education shall be the State’s highest priority in terms of allocation of resources.
Thank you, Mr. President.