Sen. Lito Lapid (Photo courtesy by Bitagmedia)
By Junex Doronio
MANILA — He feels what it’s like to be poor that forced him to pursue movie acting instead of pursuing a tertiary education and this may have compelled Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid to file a bill that grants long-term personal loan program for the living expenses of economically-distressed but deserving college students.
Lapid noted that although Republic Act 10687, otherwise known as the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act,” which was realized under the Duterte administration provides for free tuition and exemption of other fees for students at state colleges and universities, but “its scope is still limited.”
The erstwhile stuntman-turned-action star, who earned the monicker “Bida ng Masa,” said his Senate Bill 1939 or an Act establishing the College Living Expenses Financing (CLEF) program seeks to support higher studies of Filipino students of good academic standing through a long-term personal loan program to provide for the living expenses of the college students.
Lapid said the program shall cover but are not limited to: board and lodging; living allowance; transportation costs; food expenses; uniforms and personal clothing; books and supplies; internet and digital connectivity expenses; and other miscellaneous expenses.
“The loan shall be provided by and disbursed through the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines,” he added.
Lapid’s bill also entitles each eligible student to “a maximum loan amount of P50,000 per semester or enrollment and a maximum of P400,000 allowing for up to five years of college enrollments, payable up to 25 years and with an interest rate lower than the prevailing interest rate subject to the discretion of the disbursing financial institutions, and a grace period on principal and interest payments so that amortizations shall start one year from the date of graduation or the end of the last semester of enrollment, whichever is later.”
The senator from Pampanga pointed out that if his bill is passed into law, the CLEF program “shall be made available to all Filipino students who are either currently enrolled at the time of the effectivity of the Act, or admitted to enroll at any time thereafter, in courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in any higher educational institution accredited by CHEd (Commission on Higher Education).”
The CLEF program shall be “jointly administered by CHEd, which shall process and endorse the loan application requirements of eligible students, and the disbursing financial institutions, which shall release the amounts based on an approved disbursement program agreed with the student,” Lapid said. (AI/MTVN)