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Angara eyes free college tuition to poor students

Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara is hopeful that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will sign into law the "Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education" bill, recently approved and ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Angara, the co-author of the bill, said that once the bill becomes a law, poor students could pursue their college education at no cost if they enroll in state universities and colleges (SUCs) as well as local universities (LUCs).

“I am optimistic that the president will sign this before his schedules State of the Nation Address (SONA) in could be his biggest and best announcement for all of us that day, said the senator in an interview on Friday.

President Duterte is scheduled to give his second SONA on July 24.

Angara stressed the proposed law would empower the young people as it would remove a major hindrance to tertiary education.

“Even the poor Filipino families can now give their children college education without worrying how to pay for it because it is free,” he added.

Angara said that it was high time for college tuition to be made free. It could also be noted that the senator’s father, former senate president Edgardo J. Angara, was the principal author of the "Free High School Act of 1998".

The young Angara was also the author the "Universal Kindergarten Education Act" when he was a congressman of the lone district of Aurora.

Eastern Visayas has 41 Higher Education Institutions including satellite schools. There are 10 SUCs with 28 satellite campuses and three LUCs based on the data by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as of 2014.

The same data under the State Universities and Colleges Statistical Data showed that a total of 95,219 students have enrolled in the different SUCs in Eastern Visayas.

Senator Angara was in Tacloban as guest of honor for the celebration of Sangyaw Parade of Lights for the city’s 128th fiesta celebration.

Lizbeth Ann A. Abella/PNA