Leni, Bam talk to AdZU’s Youth
President Leni Robredo and Senator Bam Aquino engaged students of the Ateneo de
Zamboanga University in a tete-a-tete dubbed, “Conversaccion: Youth
Participation in Development,” discussing current issues in education,
economics and social development last September 5, 2018. Organized by the
College Office of Student Affairs and the Social Development Office, the event
aimed to enlighten the youth on their involvement in the nation’s development.
stated in his opening remarks that he is very familiar with AdZU since he has
been visiting the University since 2001, especially during his term as Chief
Executive Officer of the National Youth Commission. “I feel very at home here,”
he said, stating that many of his close friends are from AdZU. “I know that the
education here forces you to be more, to be magis,
and in many ways, ‘yan ang kailangan
natin sa ating bansa. We need to do more,” citing some recent pressing
issues such as the rice crisis in Zamboanga and the latest inflation figures
which shot up to a 6.4% high.
President Robredo, for her part, said that she believes in empowering the
sectors. There is a need to capacitate the different sectors in letting the
succeeding generations perform better than the current generation, she stated.
This is a belief she shared with her late husband, former DILG Secretary Jesse
said he believes that the most important law he authored is the Universal
Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, commonly known as the Free Tuition
Law. The law gives students of over 100 state universities and colleges the
benefit of not having to pay tuition fees to attend college. Going around the
country, Aquino related that, for many families, getting at least one relative
to college is their biggest dream. Since the passing of the Free Tuition Act,
it was found out that many of those enrolled are the first in their families to
reach college, he added. The passing of this law encouraged more and more
youths to carry on to tertiary education.
there something similar the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
has for private schools? This was another question raised at the forum. The
allocation of PhP17 Billion worth of scholarships for private school students
is a component of the said law, the senator said. The problem, however, is that
the distribution of that fund is done through politicians. “I would prefer if
the allocation is per school, and this is something we’ll be proposing in the
budget,” he added.
wanting to miss out on the chance to ask for advice on leadership from the Vice
President herself, representatives from the Ateneo Debate Union (ADU) asked if
the existence of organizations like ADU are still relevant. Robredo replied
with words of encouragement, egging them on to continue to “move against the
current” and show love for the nation by standing up for what is right. Aquino,
meanwhile, suggested to El Consejo Atenista (ECA) to draft a magna carta for
students, a document that would protect the rights and privileges of students.
In coming up with the magna carta, Aquino told ECA President Alex Wee, to be
open to compromise, and to get support from teachers who understand the
situation of student governments.