By Angel De Mesa
After decades of fighting for free public education, finally a partial victory has been served to the Filipino youth and to the future generations due to the passage of RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education. Take note, this is an imperative and historical change on the system of education that the youth has been longing for and long fighting for.
Despite the concerns of the economic managers of President Duterte, last August 3, 2017 he has finally signed the law mandating all state universities and colleges for free tuition.
Before the passage, former HB 5633 has been already implemented on selected state universities and colleges in the Philippines this academic year. It has been already experienced and satisfied by the students. “Indeed it is very helpful for us, the students and also for our parents. But still, we are very cautious on the rules and regulations of the lay especially on the requirements they have been requiring. Nevertheless, we are hopeful for the continuous progress of this that will soon benefit not just the present Filipino youths but also the future generation,” said Kath Taopo of Kabataan Party list Albay.
The struggle is real, as what people say. We cannot deny the fact that after many years of struggle of different progressive sectors especially the youth, we are thankful that their calls has been duly answered. Who says that rallies and protest actions are just a mere mess? Well after all, that is where it all started, a just and proper venue to address and express the problems of the citizens in the society. It is not bad nor illegal to have demonstration and public assembly discussing the issues we are facing, nevertheless it is also cited on our constitution – the bill of rights.
However, we should not be complacent. Kabataan Partylist representative Sarah Jane Elago already stated that amid the partial victory, youths must still be vigilant especially on possible limits that may be inserted in the new law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
“At the home front, the student movement still has a lot of battles to wage — the issue of other fees that might be collected, the actual and swift implementation of the‘No Collection’Policy, the high cost of other living expenses for students (food, lodging, transportation, etc), and of course, the big elephant in the room — the yet-to-be slayed high cost of matriculation in private schools,” said Elago.
Unfortunately, the youth has not mistaken. Weeks after the passage of the law, President Duterte was once again slammed after answering “ewan ko” (I don’t know) on the question on how to fund the implemented Law.
It was just like the instance of sending your kids to school with no assurance on how to provide his or her needs especially on the financial matters. Well after all, it is not far from his mandate to bomb and destroy the schools of Lumads in Mindanao.
It is not wrong to give credits to those who have worked legislatively to pass the law. However it is more justifiable to look on the broader way who are those people behind the curtain who been have long struggling and fighting to achieve free education. Millions of Filipino youths have struggled and fight for the passage of this law, while thousands of Filipino youth have offered their life just to reach this level.
Investment on education will forever be a living legacy. At the end of the day, it is all our duty to uphold long term solutions on our society, and push for a nationalist, scientific and mass oriented education for all. (BaretangBikolnon.com)