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Palace hopeful Senate will back P40B budget for free college tuition

 Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the palace is hopeful the Senate will support the lower chamber’s move to allot a P40 billion fund for free college education in state universities and colleges next year. File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday welcomed the move of the House of Representatives to allot P40 billion to fund free college education in state universities and colleges next year.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the palace is hopeful the Senate would support the lower chamber’s move.

Abella said “free tertiary public education is a cornerstone of the social development policy of the Duterte administration.”

“We hope that the Senate would fully support the House initiative so that more than one million students in our public universities and colleges can enjoy free tuition and miscellaneous fees starting June 2018,” Abella said.

“The P40 billion would also provide additional stipends for very poor students and allow parents to borrow low-interest loans to help their children complete their education,” he added.

Abella cited that  President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act last August 5 “to provide all Filipinos with equal opportunity to quality tertiary education.”

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He said the law also seeks “to give priority to academically able students who come from poor families.”

The House of Representatives allotted the P40 billion for 100 SUCs as well as locally funded schools.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said the P30 billion portion of the P40 billion was pooled from the Department of Education’s school building program while the P6 billion, P3 billion, and P1 billion were taken from the following government institutions respectively: the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Transportation and the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the law would take effect in the academic year 2018 to 2019.

RELATED: House allots P40B for free college education

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