By Wilnard Bacelonia

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (Presidential Communications Office Photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s commitment to sustain free higher education in public universities and colleges will ensure that more young Filipinos will be given the opportunity to attend and finish college.

The President thus affirmed the principle for the passage of the free higher education law under Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act “that education is an investment and not a burden to the Filipino people,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement on Friday.

“We will continue working with our partners in government and the academe to ensure that the free higher education law continues to change the lives of Filipino youth and their families,” Gatchalian said.

During the National Higher Education Day Summit at the Philippine International Convention Center Complex in Pasay City on Wednesday, President Marcos assured that free tertiary education in public universities and colleges will continue under his administration.

“We have allocated close to PHP 134 billion for our state and local universities and colleges (SUCs and LUCs) this year so that more students can receive free tertiary education and more families will be eased of the burden of having to pay for college,” Marcos said.

Gatchalian noted that prior to the enactment of the free college law, the average enrollment in SUCs and LUCs was around 1.6 million.

But by academic years 2018-2019 to 2022-2023 when the law was already being implemented, the average enrollment in SUCs and LUCs rose by 13 percent, or to more than 1.8 million.

Gatchalian, meanwhile, urged for more investments in tertiary education besides free tuition fees.

“We need to continue investing in our state universities and colleges so they can have the resources, including world-class facilities and competent personnel, to deliver quality tertiary education,” he said. (PNA)