Senate OKs free SUC tuition, free Internet in public places

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THE Senate approved on third and final reading two bills that will provide tuition subsidies to students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and private higher learning and vocational institutions and free internet access in public places.

Senators were present during the session on Monday unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill (SB) 1304 or the “Free Higher Education for All Act” primarily authored and sponsored by Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th.

The bill, according to Aquino, primarily seeks to make “higher education accessible to financially disadvantaged but deserving students,” through tuition subsidies and financial assistance to SUCs.

Senate president pro tempore Ralph Recto, one of the co-authors of the bill, expanded the coverage of the measure to include in the tuition subsidy students enrolled in public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) and technical-vocational (TVIs).

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College students can avail of the tuition assistance provided that they meet the admission requirements of their chosen school.

The bill will establish the SUC Tuition Subsidy Fund that will be administered by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The Senate also approved on third and final reading SB 1277 that provides free, fast and efficient Internet service in public places.

With the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act, Recto expressed belief that the big government investments in free Wi-Fi spots would trigger upstream reforms in the telecoms sector.

“In this bill are provisions that will improve Internet speed, better broadband services, slash the red tape that retards information and communication technology (ICT) growth,” Recto said.

The proposal seeks to provide free internet access in all national and local government offices; public schools, including state colleges and universities; public hospitals and health centers; public parks, plazas, and libraries; and airports, seaports, and transport terminals. Jefferson Antiporda

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