Several months before the then Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos decided to run for Vice President, he already proposed that the government should grant free tuition to all college students studying in State Universities and Colleges (SUC).
In a Manila Times article dated November 15, 2015, Marcos explained in detail why he believed the government can afford to do so.
The following article (courtesy of Manila Times) read as follows
Marcos pushes free college education
IF Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. had his way, all students enrolled in state colleges and universities will be fully subsidized by the government.
Marcos said in a press briefing in Boracay, Aklan that based on his study, the government has the means to shoulder the tuition of all students enrolled in SUCs.
“Meron akong ipo-propose na pag-aralang mabuti na gawin na lahat ng estudyante ng SUC ay gawing libre na ang kanilang pag-aaral dahil sa kalkulasyon namin hindi gaanong kalaki ang (pondong) kakailanganin ng gobyerno na gastusin para dito (My proposal that the education of all students enrolled in state colleges should be for free should be studied thoroughly because based on our calculation, the budget needed for this is not that gargantuan),” Marcos said.
The senator stressed that education is one of the most important services that the government can provide to the people.
Based on data from the Commission on Higher Education, there are 547 SUCs whose operations are subsidized by the government. However, students in state colleges and universities still have to pay tuition.
Based on data from the Commission on Higher Education, there were 1.4 million students enrolled in SUCs for the school year 2013-2014.
Marcos also called for bigger support for public school teachers, saying it is a crucial factor in efforts to improve the educational system.
The senator vowed to work for the enactment of measures for this purpose in the remaining session days of the Senate.
If these measures will not be accommodated during the current legislative agenda, Marcos said he will continue to push for these bills if he is elected vice president next year.
Despite Marco’s controversial and questionable loss to the sitting vice president Leni Robredo, the former Senator’s dream is about to become reality after President Rodrigo Duterte’s government allocated P8.3 billion to carry out the plan.
In doing so, opponents of both Marcos and Duterte are trying to take credit for something they have never done during their reign in previous administration.
It is only fair to say that if there are people whom SUC students should be thankful to, it should be Sen. Bongbong Marcos, President Duterte, and the current senators who supported the plan – not the credit-grabbing-people from previous Aquino administration. /Rene Buendia/