Going to college just became easier for many Filipinos.
On the night of Aug. 3 local time, Philippine president Duterte signed into law a bill granting tuition-free education at over 100 state universities and colleges.
Congress passed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act earlier this year and sent it to Duterte last month to sign or veto. Duterte’s economic advisors had suggested he veto the bill, arguing it would be too expensive and estimating costs could reach $2 billion a year. According to deputy executive secretary Menardo Guevarra, Duterte said the long-term benefits were greater than the “very heavy budgetary implications.”
However, one lawmaker, Franklin Drilon, argued the costs wouldn’t be nearly as high as Duterte’s advisors suggested, saying they’d be closer to the range of $400 million to $500 million per year.
Lawmakers and student leaders, who urged Duterte to sign the bill, rejoiced when he did. Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, …
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