Youth solon slams Sen. Angara’s refusal to support Anti-‘No Permit, No Exam’ Bill

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino slammed Sen. Edgardo Angara’s pronouncement today that the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture will not support House Bill No. 4791, or the Anti-‘No Permit, No Exam’ Bill, which was passed by the Lower House on third and final reading last August 3, 2011, over a year ago.

“At the Senate committee level, we do not support the Anti-‘No Permit, No Exam’ Bill,” Angara was quoted as saying in the Department of Education budget hearing at the Senate today.

Angara said that “persuasion” and not “regulation” should be applied to schools imposing such policies.

“We are shocked by such pronouncement from Sen. Angara himself. Students were lobbying for this bill for so long and directly opposing it is not what we expected from Senate,” said Palatino, the principal author of HB 4791, which is a consolidated version of various bills addressing the same issue.

“Perhaps this explains the reason why the bill has gathered dust in Senate. Congress passed this over a year ago and yet Senate is sitting on it,” the youth solon added.

HB 4791 penalizes the “imposition of a ‘No Permit, No Exam’ policy or any such policy that prohibits students of post-secondary and higher education from taking their midterm or final examinations due to unpaid tuition and other school fees.”

Congress records reveal that the Senate received the approved House version of HB 4791 last August 10, 2011. However, until now, Senate has yet to act on the bill.

“When the Anti-‘No Permit, No Exam’ Bill was passed in the Lower House over a year ago, many students rejoiced, as it signalled the end of unjust policies that affect thousands of students during examination months. But such pronouncement from the Senate committee on education chair bodes ill for the future of this bill,” Palatino said.

Palatino explained that the “strong lobbying efforts from the private school sector” is behind Senate’s dilly-dallying on the bill. “For so long, we are hearing reports that various private schools are lobbying strongly against the passage of this law,” he explained.

“Appalled, we really are. Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara, Sen. Angara’s son, is even a co-author of this bill. Don’t they even talk?” the youth solon added.

Representatives Angara, Mark Villar, Abigael Faye Ferriol and Carlo Lopez are also co-authors of the consolidated bill.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) is set to file an appeal to the Senate Committee on Education, Culture and Arts regarding the status of HB 4791.

“With little time left, students will intensify lobbying efforts in Senate for this bill. The 15th Congress should not adjourn without passing this important piece of legislation,” said NUSP Secretary General Isabelle Baguisi.

“This issue is far from over. We won’t let Senate to kill the hard-earned victory of students. On behalf of college and technical-vocational students nationwide, we implore our senators to consider this legislation and expedite its passage,” Palatino ended.

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