Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is calling for a review and restructuring of the government’s college education policy, following the tragic suicide case of a University of the Philippines – Manila student after reportedly failing to pay tuition fee.
“I join the UP community and the entire student sector in mourning the death of a fellow Iskolar ng Bayan. This unfortunate incident where one promising student took her own life out of frustration should not have happened, especially when she belongs to a state university,” says Jinggoy, who completed his AB Economics degree in UP School of Economics.
Jinggoy cites that the “State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.”
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada further notes, “If this happens to the UP which is considered as the country’s premier state-funded university, I can only imagine more students undergoing the same distress and hardship in finishing their college education in private, considerably more expensive academic institutions.”
Sen. Estrada filed a proposed Free Public College Education System through his Senate Bill 447.
“By instituting a free public college education system in our country, we would be helping more of our less privileged constituents in realizing their dream of obtaining a college diploma. Also, through this legislative measure, we are able to provide these youth with the basic leverage in securing decent employment for them in the near future,” Sen. Estrada says in the bill’s explanatory note.
Apart from this, Sen. Estrada authored Senate Bill 496 or the Regional Subsidized College Education Program or RSCEP.
The measure seeks to establish a RSCEP in each region of the country which shall provide a free tuition and all school expenses in any four-year college course leading to degrees in engineering, agriculture, veterinary medicine, education, computer science, nursing and mass communications; sustained provision for books, subsistence, clothing and transportation allowance; and contingent provision for medical and hospitalization expenses.
Both legislative proposals were referred to the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and Committee on Finance.
Sen. Estrada intends to refile both measures in the incoming 16th Congress and actively push for the passage of the same.