Senators were exultant at the unexpected move of the President. They were delighted that he actually signed the bill. Duterte, who openly embraced the planned development, earned the lawmakers praises although it was strongly opposed by economic advisers.
Among those who shared the optimism was Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, he is one of the lawmakers who vowed to find ways to continue and fund the new law.
"This is a landmark legislation that will have a lasting impact for our country's future." Education is an excellent investment whatever the cost to government. Whether it is hundreds of billions of pesos or only P8 Billion, we will find the resources to fund it. Congress, it is my dream that in ten years, all Filipino youth will be a college graduate, "Zubiri said in a statement.
"Let us thank President Rody Duterte for signing this into law. The fact that he signed this against the advice of many who wanted it to be vetoed shows he has a heart for the poor." I also see this as a marching order for us to Fund this and to fully implement it as well, "the lawmaker added.
From Zubiri's point of view, the Filipinos no longer have any excuse from wanting to pursue college. As someone who was a product of a state university like himself, even the subsidized tuition in UP is still a struggle for some of his classmates. He knows the hardship of parents and students who still struggle to sustain tuition fees.
"We senators will see to it that the funds will be provided," he said, the supposed funds for the new law is still not covered on the proposed 2018 budget. He and other lawmakers vowed to focus on revenue sources that can be fund free tuition fees for students in 112 State Universities and Colleges.
"By funding tuition in LUCs and government tech-voc schools, we address the needs of students from the middle and low-income brackets. Free education is truly the great equalizer of opportunities for a better future of the youth, rich or poor," Zubiri said.
Senator Loren Legarda shares the same ideology as Zubiri. As the chair of the Senate committee on finance, he vowed that as soon as the official announcement of the signing of Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education ActPalace was made, the law will be funded in the next year's budget. She is a co-author and co-sponsor of the law, she noted that after pushing for an additional budget of P8.3 billion allocation under the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) budget, it is now being implemented for the current school Year.
"In the 2017 budget, we were able to fund the free tuition in SUCs. I will also make sure that this is funded under the 2018 budget," she said in a statement.
Senator Bam Aquino also expressed his delight towards the President's decision.
"I wish to thank the President for signing the free college tuition into law. Congratulations to my fellow lawmakers and everyone who supported this policy," he said. The senator is one of the principal sponsors and co-author of the law.
Meanwhile, Sen. JV Ejercito, as also one of the principal sponsors, also rejoiced for the signing and approval of "Free Higher Education for All".
"I am very, very happy for the poor but deserving students studying in the SUCs .I would like to thank the President for signing this landmark legislation into law.This is an investment to further equip our most precious resource - the human resource," Ejercito said.
However, Senator Risa Hontiveros, for her part, given that she has an undying love of her pride, expressed her gratitude to her colleagues for disregarding party-list for the sake of the supporting the bill. She basically skipped thanking the man who had the last say on whether the bill will be signed into law or vetoed. Sucks to be he, really.
"I also thank my fellow senators for crossing party lines in brave support of this law and the Executive branch for signing the law ahead of the 30-day period given under the Constitution before the bill lapses into a law. I eagerly await this measure's full Funding and successful implementation, "she said.
Source: I N Q