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Free tuition isn’t trade off for higher taxes – Win, Sonny

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Senator Win Gatchalian dismissed speculations that the enactment of the free college education law is a quid pro quo forthe passage of President Duterte’s proposed tax reform package.

“Wala namang napag-usapan na may kapalit ito. Dahil itong batas na ito ay matagal nang napag-usapan, even before pumasok itong TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act),” the senator said.

There were talks that the President, when he met with senators in Malacanang last Tuesday evening to discuss among others the said tax reform measure, was already preparing his veto message on the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act before it was supposed to lapse into law Saturday (Aug. 5).

Sen. Sonny Angara who was among those in the meeting called by the President, said the free college education bill was discussed by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who is the Senate education committee chair, with Duterte.

“He (Escudero) did not think the President should veto it. Hindi nagsasalita ang Presidente,” Angara said last Wednesday.

Gatchalian said that now that it has been signed into law, they should now work on finding the sources of fund for the said law which will at least require P15 billion for state universities and colleges (SUCs) alone.

“Dapat mapag-usapan na kaagad kung saan kukunin ang pera at kung saang account ilalagay ito. So yung mga details na ito, may time pa naman tayo na pag-usapan dahil we have least five months before to go to end of the year. We have time to look for the budget,” he said.

“I’m very confident (we will have funds) kasi malaki yung increase n gating budget for next year. I’m confident na hindi magiging problema ang mahahanap na pondo,” he said.



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