The reports the Senate’s approval of a bill prohibiting the “no permit, no exam” rule.

The Philippine Senate has passed a bill that prohibits the “no permit, no exam” policy adopted by some educational institutions. The policy bans students who have not yet paid their school fees from taking their final exams. The Senate has also passed 16 other bills, including student loan payment freezes, and the creation of a medical reserve corps to address the demand for healthcare workers in emergencies.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who authored the no-permit-no-exam ban, said the policy is discriminatory against students from low-income families who struggle to pay school fees. He stated that the policy should not be used to pressure students into paying fees that they cannot afford.

In a statement, Gatchalian said, “Banning the no-permit-no-exam policy is one step towards the holistic reform of our educational system. We must ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to achieve their full potential, regardless of their socio-economic status.”

The passage of the bill is a significant victory for student groups who have campaigned against the policy. It is expected that the House of Representatives will draft a similar bill and that the president will sign the legislation into law.

Apart from the no-permit-no-exam bill, the Senate also passed a bill that would establish a medical reserve corps to provide healthcare services during emergencies. Senator Kiko Pangilinan, who authored the bill, said the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need for the government to have a group of healthcare professionals who can be deployed in disasters or other emergencies.

“We need to form a pool of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health workers who can be mobilized in times of need. It’s imperative that we have a medical reserve corps that is well-trained, well-equipped, and well-prepared,” said Pangilinan.

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The Senate also approved a bill that would give student loan borrowers the option to defer payments during times of crisis. This legislation is designed to help students who cannot make payments due to unemployment or economic hardship caused by natural disasters or other events.

Senator Pia Cayetano, who authored the bill, said, “This bill aims to give Filipino students more access to affordable education, protect them from predatory lending practices, and promote financial literacy.”

In total, the Senate passed 17 bills on Monday, demonstrating the legislature’s commitment to improving educational opportunities and healthcare services in the Philippines.

It remains to be seen how the House of Representatives will respond to the Senate’s proposals. However, the passage of the no-permit-no-exam policy is a significant victory for students, signaling a commitment to making education more equitable and accessible in the country.

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