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Free SUC tuition law a 'slap in the face' of Diokno, solon says


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A party-list lawmaker on Friday lauded the signing into law of the measure providing free tuition in state universities and colleges, saying it is a "slap in the face" of President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers who are opposed to it.

"Masayang-masaya tayo ngayon dahil naisabatas sa pamamagitan ng paglagda ang matagal nang inaasam-asam ng mamamayang Pilipino [at] matagal nang ipinaglalaban ng mga kabataan. Ito 'yung libreng edukasyon sa kolehiyo," said  ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio at a press conference.

"Kailangan kilalanin natin at nagpupugay tayo kay Pangulong Duterte dahil pinakinggan niya at pinanigan ang tunay na panawagan ng mga kabataan, ng mamamayan, ng mga pamilya, at tinalikuran 'yung kanyang mga elitistang economic managers," he added.

Tinio specifically mentioned Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who had urged Duterte to veto the bill , saying the government cannot afford to shoulder the cost of its implementation if it becomes a law, [as it will cost government] about P100 billion.

"So sampal sa mukha po ito kila Secretary Diokno at sa mga katulad niya na narinig naman natin na malakas ang posisyon na dapat daw i-veto ng Pangulo ang batas na ito," he said.

According to Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Duterte signed the law Thursday night.

Tinio said the next battle is to ensure that the law will be included in the 2018 budget. 

"May mga bagong laban tayong dapat harapin. Unang-una na dito 'yung pagtiyak na mapondohan ng buo ang nga provision ng batas," he said.

"Magsisimula 'yan sa budget na pinag-uusapan ngayon sa Kogreso. Sa totoo lang walang pondo roon, tinanggal nga nila Diokno ang pondo para sa free tuition," he added. —KBK/KVD, GMA News

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