Makabayan Bloc lawmakers warned President Duterte against vetoing the Free Higher Education Bill that has been approved by both Houses of Congress.

The bill remains unsigned by the President and will lapse into law on August 5 unless President Duterte vetoes it.

ACT Teachers Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio said, “batas na po ito pasado na at August 5 kungdi lalagdaan ni pang duterte ay automatically magiging batas pero august 5 deadline din para sa posibleng veto… panawagan kay pang duterte na gawin nang batas ito yung libreng edukasyon pangkolehiyo at wag pakinggan ang kaniyang elitistang economic managers na nagpapayo sa kaniya na iveto ito.”

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said, “di totoo ang sinabi ng economic managers na di kaya tustusan ng gubyerno napatunayan natin na merong pondo parsa free tuition para sa SUC kung kaya pondohan ng gobyerno ang 8 trilyong builbuild build hanggang sa 2022”

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said, “nakakagalit po ang statement ng 2 economic manager na they prefer yung kawalan sa private SUCS mawawalan ng 100M dahil kung patutupad ang allocation sa free teriary education ano ang recommendasyon at binibulong ng economic managers.”

ACT Teachers Rep. Emmy de Jesis said, “lalo na si dbm sec diokno siansabi niyang 100B actually sa computation ng kongreso 30-36B lang kailangan. sobrang OA ni Diokno sa pagsasabi na 100b ang kailangan para pondohan ang free eductaion for all”

Earlier this week, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno told lawmakers at the House Appropriations committee that the government will need 100B yearly to fund the implementation of the law—a figure that Makabayan thinks is bloated.

Tinio says the proposed law would make state universities and colleges and CHED accredited local state universities and colleges function like public elementary and high schools where tuition and miscellanoeus fees are covered by government. for 2017, lawmakers put 8B to fund free college tuition in SUC’s. Tinio said, “magkano kailangan para maging libre ang tuition at miscellanoeus fees nasa 15B ngayong taon yung tuition kinaya na  ng gubyerno sa batas na ito sinama miscellaneous magdadagdag yan  6B di ba kaya ?  napakaliit lang yung 15B para malibre lahat sa SUC para sa probinsiya na walang SUC may provision sa subsidy sa estudyante na mag aaral sa private unievsrities and colleges magkano additional na kailangan 10B may pondo pa for student loans kaya binabanggit na ched ay 34B di natin alam saan hinugot ni sec diokno yung 100B gumagawa lang siya ng dahilan para di maipatupad ito”

Kabataan Party-list today denounced the strong opposition from Duterte’s economic managers to the proposed Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, as well as the Budget Secretary’s proposal to veto the act, which is supposed to give free education to state colleges and universities starting the second semester of academic year 2017-2018.

“In the growing instability of the regime and the rotten order, the ruling class is desperate to retain the colonial and commercialized system of education, despite the people’s clamor make it free and accessible,” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said.

The youth party lambasted statements from Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that “college education benefits the individual and not the society.”

“Diokno’s statement merely revealed the twisted state of neoliberal education in the country today – it’s designed for individual development, only to serve the pockets of a few, as well as the market’s needs for cheap and docile labor,” Elago explained.

The youth party calls on the Filipino youth and students to march and heighten the fight for a free, nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education, that truly puts a premium on society’s needs and not on profits.

“The US-Duterte regime insists on being ‘business as usual’ on the continued profiteering in education that has been going on for decades. It remains in the hands of the youth and students to assert what is rightfully theirs in the fight for free education,” Elago said.

“We call on the youth to fight for an education which serves the country’s agricultural needs, propels the development of national industries, and best of all is given as a basic right,” Elago concluded.

Youth groups are set to march to register these demands for education this Friday, August 4, a day before the deadline of signing of the act.