Senate approves on final reading anti ‘no permit, no exam’ policy bill

Photo from Senate PRIB
Photo from Senate PRIB

THE Senate approved on third and final reading a measure against the “no permit, no exam” policy in some schools, as well as the suspension of payment of student loans during disasters and national emergencies.

During a plenary session on Monday, March 20, 2023, 22 senators all voted in favor of Senate Bills (SBN) 1359 or the “No Permit, No Exam” Prohibition Act, and 1864 or the Student Loan Payment Moratorium During Disasters and Emergencies Act.

The “no permit, no exam” policy is being practiced in some public and private schools, barring students from taking educational assessments due to unpaid financial or property obligations, such as tuition and other school fees.

Instead of compelling students to pay a portion of their outstanding financial obligation, the measure encourages the schools to enforce other interventions, such as withholding the release of diplomas or certificates, denying admission or enrolment in the succeeding school year or semester, refusing the issuance of applicable clearances, and pursuing the settlement of outstanding financial or property obligations through appropriate legal action.

The measure was authored by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President Pro-Tempore Loren Legarda, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Senators Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Ronald Dela Rosa, Cynthia Villar, Francis Escudero, Win Gatchalian, Manuel Lapid, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, and Christopher Lawrence Go.

SBN 1864, on the other hand, which was authored by Zubiri, Legarda, Villanueva, Lapid, Escudero, Revilla and Go, puts an automatic moratorium on the payment of financial obligations by the students to their schools if they fall during a declaration of either a national or local state of calamity in the area where they are located.

It shall be effective for the duration of the state of calamity or emergency and 30 days after the lifting of such state of calamity or emergency.

There will be no penalty or interest to be imposed on the deferred payments.

Escudero, chairman of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education, thanked his colleagues for approving the twin bills, which aim to support the students.

"Ako ay nagpapasalamat sa ating mga kasamahang senador sa kanilang boto upang ang dalawang panukalang batas na ito ay makapasa sa plenaryo. Malaking tulong ito para sa ating mga mag-aaral lalo na para sa pamilya ng ating mga estudyante na mga nagdarahop subalit nagsisikap na makatapos ng kanilang pag-aaral," Escudero said.

(I am grateful to our fellow senators for their vote so that these two bills can pass the plenary. This is a great help for our students especially for the families of our students who are poor but trying to finish their education.)

"With the approval, the bills are now a step closer to their enactment into laws for the President's signature," he added.

In September 2022, the House approved House Bill 1160, which would penalize the imposition of “no permit, no exam policy” or any such policy that prohibits students from taking their periodic or final examinations due to unpaid tuition and other school fees. The bill was authored by Representative Raoul Danniel Manuel of the Kabataan party list. (SunStar Philippines)


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