WHEN he decreed free tuition in the country’s state universities and colleges (SUCs), President Rodrigo Duterte acted in the best interests of the Filipino people, particularly the poor.
In fact, a group of well-meaning lawmakers, including neophyte but highly-effective Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, hailed Duterte as the most caring leader.
“This is a very laudable action because of the long-term benefits that the new law will extend to our Filipino youth. He is a caring leader with a compassionate heart for the poor,” said Romualdez.
Ms. Romualdez, the wife of ex-Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez who now heads the influential Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), is one of the authors of Republic Act (RA) No. 10931.
RA No. 10931, otherwise known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, is a very strong cornerstone of the Duterte administration’s social development policy.
In paying a glowing tribute to the Chief Executive from Mindanao, the lawmakers said the landmark legislation will enable the Filipino youth to access better life through free college education.
Aside from Romualdez, those who lauded the President’s pro-poor decision are Reps. Raneo Abu, Robert Ace Barbers, LRay Villafuerte, Winston “Winnie” Castelo and Strike Revilla of Batangas, Surigao del Norte, Camarines Sur, Quezon City and Cavite, respectively.
Abu assured that the House leadership will ensure that the new law will have adequate funding, while Barbers said President Duterte showed a strong political will to go against the norms of democracy.
Villafuerte, for his part, said RA No. 10931 will go a long way in giving the youngsters access to college education.
Castelo praised Duterte for bringing quality and free college education to poor students, while Revilla described the signing of the new law as a big step towards reforming the educational system.
In the view of many, what’s important now is for our lawmakers -- senators and congressmen -- to work double time to fund the program.