Angara bill gives poor, deserving students free college education
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara has filed a bill that aims to ensure that every Filipino family, especially those living in poverty, has at least one college graduate.
Angara said Senate Bill No. 133 or the “One Family, One Graduate Act” entitles poor but deserving students – with priority to beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) – to free college education until they graduate.
His bill, he said, will institutionalize the Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), which awards student-grantees under 4Ps a maximum of P60,000 per academic year to cover the cost of tuition and other school fees to complete the student-grantee’s degree program.
Angara said the ESGP-PA, which is now being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Commission on Higher Education, has already produced 66 graduates from the National Capital Region this year.
“Sa kabila ng mandato ng gobyerno na gawing bukas sa lahat ang edukasyon sa ating bansa, ang realidad ay marami pa ring naghihikahos na pamilyang Pilipino ang walang kakayahang ipasok ang kanilang mga anak sa eskwelahan upang makapagtapos hanggang kolehiyo. Ang hamon ngayon ay masigurong ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino ay mabigyan ng ganitong oportunidad,” he said in a statement on Monday.
(Despite the government’s mandate to ensure that education in the country is open to all, the reality is many Filipino families in poverty cannot afford to send their children to school to finish college. The challenge now is to ensure that every Filipino family would be given this opportunity.)
The senator lamented recent studies which showed that out of 100 students who started elementary education, less than 20 were able to graduate from college. And the usual reasons for not being able to finish their education, the studies said, were poverty and lack of opportunities.
His bill, he said, also aims to contribute to the government’s thrust to effectively address poverty by increasing the number of college graduates among poor households and by ensuring that these graduates are employed in high-value occupations.
“In a society with persistent poverty, education can be the great equalizer. I strongly believe in the potential of every Filipino to succeed if they are given the right opportunities in life,” said Angara, a known advocate of educational reform.
“Kaya’t gawin nating posible na maging ang pinakamahihirap ay mabigyan ng patas na oportunidad sa edukasyon. Ito ang pinakamalaking hakbang tungo sa katuparan ng kanilang mga pangarap at pag-asang makaahon mula sa kahirapan,” he added.
(That’s why we have to make it possible that even the poorest would be given equal opportunity in education. This is the biggest step towards the fulfillment of their dreams and hopes to rise from poverty.) RAM/rga
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