Cayetano rallies support for Iskolar ng Bayan bill

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano calls on his colleagues in the 16th Congress to set aside all talks of politics and focus on efforts on Filipinos families and how to address their day-to-day problems like how to provide quality education for their children.

“This is one issue we could all agree on, no matter what political color you carry: that access to quality education is a right, not a privilege, even at the tertiary level. Let us provide Filipino families, especially the poor, the kind of education that would make their lives better,” Cayetano, author of the measure, said as he rallied support for the Iskolar ng Bayan bill which he said would provide quality education to almost 80,000 students every year if enacted into law.

Senate Bill No. 2275, otherwise known as the Iskolar ng Bayan bill, proposes that the government mandates all state universities and colleges (SUCs) to give automatic admission and scholarship grants to the top ten (10) public high school students of their respective graduating classes. It has been approved on third reading by the Senate and has recently hurdled the appropriations committee in the House of Representatives.

Under the measure, SUCs are expected to grant free tuition and other school fees to the Iskolar ng Bayan in all SUCs.

“According to the latest data from DepEd, there are a total of 7,913 public high schools operating for school year 2013-2014. That is roughly 79,130 students who are sure of going to college if this measure is made law, or 79,130 Filipino families who have a chance of waking up to a better future,” Cayetano stated.

“Let us show them that they are still our number one priority by approving measures like the Iskolar ng Bayan bill; measures that will directly address the Filipinos’ daily problems.”

Cayetano said the enactment of this measure becomes particularly important now that the PDAF has been abolished by Congress, leaving some 400,000 scholars on their own to fend for their schooling.

He particularly cited the experience in Taguig City and its local government’s strong stance against corruption, a policy that has propelled the city to be one of the best cities in the country to live in.

“In 2010, the city’s scholarship fund was at a measly P5 million while the allocation for garbage collection was P500 million. It was a clear injustice. But when Mayor Lani won her first term, the contract for garbage hauling was cut and the savings was used to fund a scholarship program. Now with P400-million worth of scholarship funds under the LANI Scholarship Program, over 24,000 scholars since 2010 were given the opportunity to go to college and in the process find better and higher paying jobs in the future.”

“This is how it should be throughout the country. If we want to help Filipinos families have better lives, we have to focus on what is really important. First, let us cleanse our government from corruption; then, let us maximise the benefits of our people. Kapag bawal ang corrupt, bigay todo ang biyaya, mas masaya ang bawat pamilya,” Cayetano said.