Bam demands refund for SUC students charged for miscellaneous fees
Senator Bam Aquino on Wednesday demanded a refund for students charged for miscellaneous fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Aquino also criticized the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) for its “inaction” to implement RA 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, in the second semester of school year 2017-2018.
“Obligasyon ng CHEd na sagutin at tugunan ang resolusyon ng Senado at ipatupad ang batas na magbibigay lunas sa problema ng milyon-milyong mga estudyanteng Pilipino at kanilang mga pamilya,” the senator said in a statement.
As CHEd was yet to implement the law, Aquino, the principal sponsor and co-author of the law, lamented that “the Senate’s call has fallen on deaf ears.”
The senator noted that during the bicameral conference committee for the legislation, representatives from both chambers of Congress expressly agreed on the legislative intent to implement it by the second semester of the school year.
Moreover, Aquino recalled that CHEd had assured during the budget deliberation for RA 10931 that the P41-billion budget for its implementation was sufficient to cover the tuition and other fees in SUCs starting the semester.
“Nagkaisa ang Senado na nararapat lang ipatupad ng CHEd ang batas para sa libreng kolehiyo dahil epektibo na ito noon pang Agosto 2017 at may nakalaang 41 bilyong piso para rito,” Aquino stressed.
“Until now, we have yet to hear from CHEd regarding our push for the law’s implementation in the second semester of 2017,” he said.
The law provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges and TESDA-run vocational schools.
In addition, students of both public and private college and universities can also apply for scholarship grants and student loans.
Earlier, Prospero “Popoy” De Vera III, the newly-appointed officer-in-charge of the CHEd, vowed that his first priority was to fast-track the implementation of free tuition for SUCs.
De Vera said the CHEd aims to fully implement the access to free tuition in June. “That is the most important mandate the commission must ensure,” he said in a television interview. /je
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