Rizal would have supported the free college entrance exam bill – Rep. Angara

“If he were alive today, Dr. Jose Rizal would have pushed for and supported the enactment of a free college entrance exam law that will enable poor but deserving students to pursue their tertiary education without the hassle of worrying for their admission test fees.”

Thus expressed Aurora Rep. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, sponsor of the pro-poor education bill (HB 6577) and chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education,  as he paid his tribute to the country’s national hero on the occasion of the latter’s 116th death anniversary.

The said measure has recently been approved by the House of Representatives and is just awaiting the approval of the counterpart bill which at present is still pending at the Senate.

“Using his sharp pen, Rizal emphasized that only through education could the country be saved from exploitation and abuse of power,” stressed Angara, a known education advocate since his first term in Congress in 2004.

The lawmaker said the national hero, through his novels and books, has slammed the ‘bondage’ and ‘slavery of Filipinos’ during the time of the Spanish invasion.

“In the more than one hundred years that have passed since Jose Rizal’s execution, the message remains the same, that education is still the best tool for change as it gives the poorest of the poor a fighting chance to succeed in life,” Angara said.

The solon from Aurora has likened our underprivileged and poor countrymen who presently comprise the majority of the population to the Filipinos who lived during the Spanish regime: taken for granted, and have not been given opportunities to improve their lives and showcase their potentials.

“Is it not surprising that Rizal’s teachings are still applicable to all of us more than a century after he expressed and wrote all those, ” Angara exclaimed, pointing out that like the national hero, he believes that we can use education to elevate the nation and develop a ‘sense of shared destiny’ and ‘sense of community’ among ourselves.

“We can all take a cue from Rizal’s thoughts and writings. Though unlike during his era, the country is now engaged in a different battleground where the war against poverty is being fought day in and day out.” Angara said.

“The real test is whether we can act with dispatch to respond to this century-old challenge of educating the youth ,as what Dr. Rizal has all along been advocating,” the former House deputy majority floor leader added, as he reminds his fellow workers in government that “if we are to develop, we must invest in people.”

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