MANILA, Aug. 5 — A Catholic bishop has called President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing into law of the bill that would provide free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) a “blessing” to many less fortunate Filipinos.
“The president did his best. What he signed is a blessing, very beneficial to all, especially to the poor and our overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs),” Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos said.
The chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI) noted that it would ease the burden of Filipinos working abroad so they could send their children to school.
“Our OFWs are willing to endure separation from their families, endure hardships and unfair treatments just for the betterment of their loved ones. They go abroad with the intention to send their children to school, sustain them in their studies and build houses. This free tertiary education in state colleges and universities is a great help to our OFWs,” Santos said.
“We at CBCP-EMCI appreciate and are thankful for the kind gestures of our president.”
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo likewise said that providing free education to poor Filipinos would enable them to rise out of poverty.
“I hope the details are all right because in itself, it is good that students have free tuition in state colleges and universities. Education leads many out of poverty,” he said.
San Jose Bishop Roberto Mallari noted that many will benefit from the new law.
“(This) is actually good, thinking that investing on human capital through education is a constitutional mandate. However, this may have an implication in the enrollment outcomes in Catholic colleges and universities and other private schools in the long run,” he said.
The CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education chairman expressed hope that “it is not just a political decision, that it was carefully studied by his (Duterte’s) economic team because this requires sustainable funding”.
The law, which was approved on Thursday, allows students of SUCs, local universities and colleges, and state-run technical-vocational schools to enjoy full tuition subsidy. (Ferdinand G. Patinio/PNA)