Senate to pass bills on free SUCs tuition, free internet next week

MANILA--The Senate is expected to pass a bill which seeks to give free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and another bill which seeks to provide free internet access in public areas on third and final reading next week.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, principal sponsor and co-author of SBN. 1304 or the "Free Higher Education for All Act" and SBN. 1277 or the “Free Internet Access in Public Places Act” said he expects the two priority measures to be passed on third and final reading on Monday.

Despite criticism, Aquino defended his measure to provide free tuition fees in all SUCs noting that it is the best investment the government could make.

He noted that if the government is willing to spend over PHP 15 billion to host the ASEAN anniversary this year, it should spend roughly the same amount to make tuition free for students in SUCs.

Aquino has urged the government anew to improve Internet access across the county by encouraging increased market competition aside from improving its national broadband plan.

“The national broadband plan is a good step but increasing competition and getting more players in the telco industry is still the quickest, most sustainable solution,” Aquino said.

He also cited how, in previous committee hearings, various stakeholders suggested that more players are needed to improve Internet service while keeping prices reasonable. (PNA)