Roman Romulo wants your kids to finish school free!

It's refreshing to find a politician like Romulo. More action than talk, his is a rare breed indeed.

The legislator from Pasig has enjoyed and endured  three elective terms worth of insight and back-and-forth at the Lower House —  especially on causes that are closest to him: education, health, and employment.

Plenary speeches are not new to Representative Roman Tecson Romulo. These days, though, speeches delivered outside the halls of the Lower House are what Romulo looks forward to the most. In particular, he enjoys the speeches of valedictorians at graduation ceremonies of schools in different parts of the country.

Romulo says in an interview that these talks are “the best reflection of how important college education is, especially in public high schools. These speeches will make you see how the youth are. Idealism is so alive in the youth, and I hear it in valedictory speeches. It’s a bright spot.” The lawmaker’s advocacy has not only given him the platform to speak about what is being done to pursue quality education in the country, but afforded him front row seats to learn more about Filipino youth.

Romulo recalls a recent speech from a valedictorian in the Visayas. “She asked for understanding from her parents because she had not been able to obey them fully the past few years,” he narrates. “Sometimes, she would be asked to do something, but was not able to do so because she was studying.

On a separate occasion, Romulo learned of the long queues that regularly stretched at the office of a school president during enrollment and graduation time. Parents would come and plead for an extension or installment arrangement to be able to pay for an entire semester’s free amounting to P1,000 to P2,000.

The lawyer-lawmaker maintains that while tuition may be free in public schools, parents still have to shoulder the fees for books, food and costs for special assignments. “Not everyone has a computer. So if you give them a special research, they will still have to go to a computer shop. You rent there per hour and pay for every page you print. It’s the same for college. Even if the tuition fee is low, the incidental and consequential expenses really cost a lot,” Romulo observes.

These realities are more than enough to push the congressman to spearhead providing quality education for all Filipinos as the Constitution mandates.

In December 2014, three education bills he sponsored were signed into law.

First is the Iskolar ng Bayan Act, which provides scholarship to the top 10 students of every public high school in the Philippines at their choice state college or university.

Second, the Open Distance Learning Act, which pursues learning opportunities for persons with disabilities, Filipinos in the archipelago’s remote areas and even overseas Filipino workers who are sometimes not able to receive promotions abroad due to lack of competencies like a masters degree.

Last is the Ladderized Education Act which seeks to strengthen the ties between the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to ensure that students who take technical vocational courses are given credit should they pursue a college education.

“With the ladderized law, agencies will be forced to talk (and coordinate),” the House Committee chairman on Higher and Technical Education.

The question is will a man like Romulo try his luck in a bigger stage? We at todobiranews hope so.

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