Lawmaker pushes for free college tuition fee law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Free education in state universities and colleges will be mandatory in the national budget each year under a proposed bill.

Senator Bam Aquino is pushing for the passage of the Free Higher Education for All Act, following the Commission on Higher Education's (CHED) recent announcement of free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) next year.

The CHED announced over the weekend that its additional P8.3-billion budget will be allocated to the tuition fees of students in state-run institutions of higher education.

Aquino on Sunday said he's hoping the proposed free tuition fee bill will be passed by March 2017 at the latest.

A law is needed to make free tuition in state universities a regular item in the succeeding national budgets.

"Masaya rin tayo na maraming senador ang sumusuporta sa panukalang ito na ng libreng tuition fee ang mga mahihirap na estudyante sa ating SUCs," Aquino said.

[Translation: "We're happy there are many senators who support the free tuition fee policy for poor students enrolled in SUCs."]

Five other similar measures were filed in the Senate during the 17th Congress, on top of Aquino's bill.

CHED chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the department is working on the guidelines and mechanics of the implementation of the 2017 budget allocated to these colleges and universities.