SENATOR Ralph Recto has filed a bill seeking to grant a full tuition subsidy enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs).

Under Senate Bill 2986, all Filipino citizens taking bachelor's degree, certificate degree, or any comparable degree in any government-run higher education institutions are exempt from paying tuition fees.

Recto said the fund needed to provide free tuition would be initially sourced from the 50 percent share of the national government from the annual gross income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

He said the total amount to make SUCs tuition-free is just about 0.4 percent of the proposed P3.002-trillion 2016 budget, which is a "rational and sustainable allocation given its positive impact to economic and social development."

Citing results from the 2013 Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey, Recto said insufficient family income and high cost of education was among the primary reasons of students for not attending school.

Recto added tuition fees of students for their college education, ranging from as low as P12 to as high as P1,000 per unit, is one of the compelling reasons that discourage some students to pursue and finish tertiary education.

"The goal of this measure is to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses, which hinder some students from completing tertiary education," he said.

"The government can now afford this reform due to its more stable macroeconomic position brought about by prudent fiscal policies, improved tax collection efficiency, and a remarkable economic performance," the senator added.

In 2014, Recto said the government underspent P4.2-billion budget for the SUCs.

The senator said the amount could already form a substantial part of the fund needed for the full tuition subsidy.

"As expressed in the Philippine Development Plan, the country’s vision of inclusive growth and development entails sustained investment in human capital, particularly through the provision of quality basic education, competitive technical vocation skills training, and relevant and responsive higher education. Significant results can then be realized by making higher education competitive and responsive to national development goals," Recto said. (Sunnex)