PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the bill granting tuition-free education in all state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra made the announcement during the Mindanao Hour news briefing at the Conrad Hotel on Friday.
The bill, which was passed by Congress last May, will have automatically become a law on August 5 if the President did not act on it.
Back in February, the country’s economic managers expressed opposition to the bill, saying it will benefit largely “non-poor students.”
On Tuesday, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno admitted that the government could not shoulder the estimated budget requirements of the bill. Diokno estimated that the proposal would cost P100 billion.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, meanwhile, said granting full subsidy to tuition fees in all SUCs would disadvantage higher private education institutions.
The Senate and the House of Representatives ratified the final version of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act in May, which will provide full tuition subsidy for students in 112 SUCs, local universities and colleges, and government-run technical-vocational schools.