By Paulo Loreto Lim
Speaking during the opening ceremonies of the Philippine Statistical Association, Inc. (PSAI) conference at the Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod City, yesterday, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian boasted about the Free Higher Education Law, which provides free tuition at state universities and colleges.
“They said it would be too expensive,” he explained. “We calculated the actual cost of the program and showed that it was a mere drop in the bucket when put into the context of the entire national budget.”
Earlier this week, the House of Representatives allotted P40 billion to fund the program next year; however, during Senate deliberations back in August, Senator Paolo ‘Bam’ Aquino estimated costs to be P16 billion annually, with a 10 percent increase every year.
According to Davao City first district Rep. Karlo Nograles, who chairs the appropriations committee, the allocation will fund free tuition, miscellaneous expenses, along with technical and vocational education.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill into law last August 3, a day Gatchalian called his “proudest.”/WDJ