Angara bill seeks discounts for underprivileged students
Senator Sonny Angara is urging his colleagues to support the passage of his bill that would grant underprivileged students a five-percent discount at food establishments, on medicines, textbooks and school supplies, as well as tuition, miscellaneous, and other school fees.
Angara, vice chairman of the Senate education committee, said he filed Senate Bill 134 or the “Underprivileged Students’ Discount Act of 2016” to ease students’ financial woes and help them cope with the high cost of education as well as daily school expenses.
“Not all deserving and underprivileged students who were able to get scholarships, grants, or loans get to finish their education because they lack the financial capacity to spend for their basic needs and other expenses related to their schooling,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
If passed into law, underprivileged students at all levels, including those enrolled in technical vocational institutions, could avail of discounts on basic and education services.
Aside from granting discounts on basic services, such as food and medicines, Angara said the proposed measure also seeks to give underprivileged students discounts on educational expenses, such as tuition, miscellaneous, and other school fees, including books and school supplies.
“Considering that we now have a law giving discounts to senior citizens, it is high time that we consider the plight of our underprivileged students who are our nation’s future,” the senator said.
Under the bill, the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are mandated to determine the qualified tertiary or college and post-secondary tech-voc beneficiaries.
Angara said underprivileged students who fail to finish the course have stopped their schooling, and those previously convicted of any crime will not be covered by the proposed legislation.
The bill also provides for tax incentives for establishments that would grant discounts to underprivileged students, while establishments that would refuse to grant discounts would be penalized with one- to four-week suspension of their license to operate and would be fined not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000.
“If passed into law, this Senate bill will definitely encourage students from financially struggling families to pursue their dreams by finishing their college education or their vocational trainings,” Angara said. CDG/rga
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