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Sen. Gatchalian believes tuition-free SUCs will be approved

State university students like this girl taking automative technology course at the Surigao State College of Technology in Surigao del Norte will benefit from the Free Higher Education bill filed by Senator Win Gatchalian once enacted into law. (Photo by Mark Cayabyab)

Senator Win Gatchalian commended fellow Senator Bam Aquino for filing a bill in support of their common advocacy of instituting a tuition-free policy in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

“Last year, when I first proposed instituting a tuition-free policy in SUCs, many people doubted that we could make it happen. Today, with all of the allies that we have gained over the past year, I am confident that we can turn our idea into law during the 17th Congress,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of both House panels on education during the 16th Congress.

The senator¬†expressed his excitement in working with Senator Aquino to craft legislation which would consolidate and harmonize their respective proposals to provide the country’s 1.5 million SUC students with a full tuition subsidy shouldered by the government.

The idea of making SUCs tuition-free has drawn considerable support in the Upper Chamber. In addition to Gatchalian and Aquino, Senators Grace Poe, Chiz Escudero and Ralph Recto had also expressed their support for free education in SUCs at some point during the recently-concluded national campaign period.

“Providing universal access to higher education should be one of the government’s top priorities as it works to eradicate poverty and achieve social justice. The Senate must do its part by facilitating the swift passage of this bill into law,” said Gatchalian.

Aquino, a returning senator, filed the “Free Education in State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) Bill” on June 30. Meanwhile, Gatchalian, the freshman senator from Valenzuela City, has filed the “Free Higher Education Act” on July 4.

Gatchalian’s bill, originally filed in July 2015 as House Bill No. 5905 during the 16th Congress, was approved by the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education later that year.