Free college education law to save lives of students — Nograles
MANILA — House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles believes the free college education law that will be implemented beginning this year will prevent the all-too familiar tragedies that confront local students, particularly the less-fortunate ones.
“The heartbreaking case of Rodolfo Urmanita was exactly the kind of occurrence that we wanted to avoid with the institutionalization of government’s free college tuition program. That said, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Rodolfo’s relatives and loved ones in their time of loss,” Nograles said in a recent press statement.
It was earlier reported that Urmanita, an education student of Cagayan State University (CSU), took his own life last January 16 because of depression.
The cause of his depression was supposedly his inability to pay all necessary school fees for the first semester of the current school year, which prevented him from enrolling in the second semester.
Already in his third year, Urmanita was said to be reviewing for the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) before deciding to end it all.
“Even more tragic, and frustrating to me as a legislator, was the fact that Rodolfo was the second student from the University to commit suicide in the last three years. According to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), CSU student Rosanna Sanfuego took her life in February 2015 also because of unpaid school fees,” Nograles said.
“Clearly, Rodolfo’s case wasn’t isolated. Republic Act (RA) 10931 also known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act will give hope to young Filipinos like him who, despite financial difficulties, dream of finishing college,” the Davao lawmaker noted.
Signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2017, RA 10931 provides for the free college tuition program, which is scheduled to be rolled out in school year 2018-19.
The Appropriations panel led by Nograles set aside P40 billion in the P3.767-trillion national budget to cover for students’ tuition and other school fees, including miscellaneous fees, that will be shouldered by the government under the celebrated law this year.
Students from the country’s 114 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 16 Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) accredited by CHED and 122 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will benefit from RA 10931.
“This law will save the lives of hundreds of other Rodolfos and Rosannas by simply giving them a fighting chance in getting that college degree,” Nograles added.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is expected to release the implementing Rules and regulations of RA 10931 later this month.
Nograles earlier said that the leadership change over at CHED–sparked by the resignation of erstwhile chairperson Patricia Licuanan amid several controversies–would allow for the smoother and faster implementation of President Duterte’s programs, especially the free college education law. (PR)