A 3-term mayor and current congressman of Valenzuela City Win Gatchalian has welcomed former President and now-Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s endorsement, saying the latter’s support boosts his senatorial bid that is anchored on pro-poor legislative agenda.
Mayor Estrada expressed his support for Gatchalian and 11 other senatorial bets before thousands of supporters on Monday at the Liwasang Bonifacio. In the same proclamation rally, Mayor Estrada endorsed as his preferred presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe of the Partido Galing at Puso (PGP) saying: “I am sure that she will follow the footsteps of her father. She knows the pro-poor programs of FPJ.”
“We humbly accept Mayor Estrada’s support for our senatorial bid, which we believe will greatly increase our chance winning a seat in the Senate” said Gatchalian, an exclusive senatorial candidate of PGP led by standard bearer Grace Poe who also happens to be Mayor Estrada’s goddaughter.
The NPC senatorial bet said he believes Mayor Estrada’s endorsement “is still significant particularly among the D and E classes as well as in Mindanao.”
Gatchalian, a member of Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), added: “Mayor Estrada’s endorsement further validates our proposed measures that seek to promote economic prosperity for all, especially the indigent families who will benefit the most from state aid.”
The gem of Gatchalian’s legislative agenda is his proposed “Free Higher Education Act”, a measure that will fully subsidize tuition fees in all state universities and colleges for all bachelor and tech-voc students.
“It is already known that those armed with a college diploma earns more than high school graduates. With our proposed legislation, millions of youth, especially those who have to stop studying to be able to work because of poverty, will be given a chance to improve their social mobility,” explained Gatchalian.
Estimates from the 2014 Labor Force Survey indicate that people with at least a college degree earn P679.93 a day on the average, more than twice the daily basic pay of a high school graduate at P288.
Despite proof that there are higher returns for an individual who has completed college, Gatchalian pointed out that the government has yet to make tertiary education readily accessible especially for the millions of youth from indigent families.
Estimates culled from government data show that around 2.4 million youths are not in college because of the high costs associated with education, aside from the more than three million youth who are not in college because they are either working or looking for work.
Gatchalian said his measure gives students — who were not given sufficient marks to belong to the top graduating class but are deserving of government support — a fighting chance in life.
“Our measure benefits everyone, but it will surely benefit the poor the most. This is a genuine, pro-poor educational reform. It does not discriminate against those who are at a disadvantage from the very start, such as those who had poor access to quality education and whose families lived without the basic necessities in life,” explained Gatchalian.
If elected to the Senate, Gatchalian vowed to immediately re-file the “Free Higher Education Act” which already gained the approval of the House committee on higher and technical education. (Monica Cantilero)