LEYTE Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez yesterday defended before the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education her proposed law granting full scholarship to undergraduate senior citizens.
Romualdez, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, sponsored House Bill 3704 or the “Senior Citizen Scholarship Act of 2016.
The committee yesterday started deliberation on pending bills granting free college education.
“Honorable chairman, esteemed colleagues, education of the elderly is a must as it leads to improvement in the quality of their lives, influences their self-esteem, their feeling of accomplishment and self-realization while providing the younger generations with the opportunity to take advantage of the experiences of the seniors. It is my personal appeal to all of you to make this a reality for our country’s senior citizens, with the passage of House Bill 3704,” Romualdez, a registered nurse, appealed.
She urged her colleagues to immediately approve her proposal.
She said her proposal would help undergraduate senior citizens to improve their lives by giving them the chance and opportunity to finish their four-year degree in any state college and university.
The Leyte congresswoman requested the panel led by Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Ann Hoffer to adopt the explanatory note of her measure as her sponsorship speech.
“The primary objective of this bill is to protect and promote the constitutionally upheld right to quality education and to ensure that education is accessible to all, without discrimination on the basis of age,” Romualdez, wife of Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) president Martin Romualdez said.
Romualdez pointed out that senior citizens are a valued part of Filipino society. “In fact, the Constitution promotes not only their well-being and social security, but more importantly, their continued personal growth and development,” she said.
“Furthermore, this proposed law will also promote a more meaningful social participation and engagement by Filipino senior citizens in the present community and keep them active and creative in their retirement years,” said Romualdez.
Under her measure, a senior citizen will be given automatic full scholarship in the form of free tuition in a state college or university.
The Commission on Higher and Technical Education (CHED) is tasked to promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the measure.
Romualdez said providing scholarships for senior citizens will maximize their contribution to nation building and provide access and equity to quality education among financially disadvantaged but academically deserving students.
She added that the scholarship program under her proposal will enable undergraduate senior citizens to pursue and complete their tertiary education and thus affirm their full participation in Filipino society.
“We have to provide elderly citizens with full support for the improvement of their total well-being, motivate them to contribute to nation building, and foster their capacity to attain a more meaningful and productive ageing, in full recognition that senior citizens are an integral part of Filipino society,” the female lawmaker said.