Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter “Companero” S. Cayetano is optimistic that close to 80,000 graduating public high school students will be able to avail free and quality college education next school year once the landmark measure Iskolar ng Bayan bill is enacted into law.
Cayetano, principal author of the bill, issued the statement after the bicameral conference panel passed the measure on Thursday.
“The enactment of the Iskolar ng Bayan bill into law will change the lives of almost 80,000 children dreaming of a better future for their families. It is a way of letting 80,000 families feel the benefits of a growing economy. This is the very essence of inclusive growth,” he said.
“This will give deserving students opportunities to land better paying jobs and subsequently provide better futures for their families.”
Once the bicam report is ratified, the proposed law will be sent to Malacanang for President Aquino’s signature. Cayetano expressed confidence the President will affix his signature to this landmark measure.
“I thank members of the bicam panel as well as House and Senate leaders who made the measure a priority bill. This is a testament to the ability of members of Congress to disregard politics in order to work for the greater good,” Cayetano said.
It was one of the priority bills identified by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II.
“We also thank Senator Pia Cayetano and Pasig City Representative Roman Romulo for shepherding the bill in their respective committees in the Senate and House of Representatives, and in the plenary. Our utmost gratitude for their efforts to help improve the welfare of our youth,” Cayetano added.
Under the proposal, the government shall mandate all state universities and colleges (SUCs) to give automatic admission and scholarship grants to the top ten public high school students of their respective graduating classes.
“More than a landmark measure for the 16th Congress, the enactment of the Iskolar ng Bayan bill is a commitment to the Filipino youth that they have a government working for their future. Kahit malayo pa ang graduation, ito na siguro ang pinakamagandang regalo na mabibigay natin sa ating mga kabataan at kanilang mga magulang na naghihirap sa pagtatrabaho para mapag-aral ang kanilang mga anak,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano earlier emphasized that the measure becomes particularly important now that the pork barrel has been abolished by Congress, leaving some 400,000 scholars on their own to fend for their schooling. #