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Kabataan rep Sarah Elago questions zero budget for free tuition in SUCs for 2018: It’s all build, build, build!

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Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago has questioned the absence of funds for the implementation of a tuition-free policy in all state universities and colleges next year as the House appropriations committee began deliberations on the proposed P3.767 billion national budget.

Elago noted that in contrast to the lack of budget to sustain the tuition-free policies in SUCs, the government is willing to borrow P888.2 billion for several projects, particularly its ambitious “build, build, build” program.

“This representation is deeply appalled by the manner in which this national government is willing to borrow billions to fund various infrastructure projects, without any assurance that no peso will go to the pockets of the unscrupulous, while the administration abruptly defunds the free tuition policy,” she said in a statement Tuesday (August 1).

Congress allotted P8 billion for SUCs so they no longer have to collect tuition fees from students.

A bill institutionalizing the free tuition policy in SUCS has been passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate but it has yet to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Aside from a lack of budget for the tuition free policy, Elago said the national expenditure program showed that the Department of Budget and Management expects SUCs to increase tuition collection from the estimated P7.8 billion in 2017 to P9.1 billion in 2018.

“Di na nga popondohan ang free tuition ulit, mukhang nagbibigay pa ng signal ang DBM na magtaas ng singil sa matrikula ang ating mga pampublikong pamantasan sa susunod na taon,” she said.