Press Release
June 8, 2011

Legarda Pushes for a National Policy on Students' Rights and Welfare

To bring out and enhance the full potential of the country's young citizens, Senator Loren Legarda pushed for the passage of a bill creating a national policy that would promote and guarantee students' rights and welfare.

One of the salient features of Legarda's proposed Senate Bill 1435 is the prohibition of involuntary contributions and imposing of fees beyond the actual cost of reproducing documents, academic records, and similar certifications.

She explained that increase in tuition or other school fees must be done in consultation with various stakeholders including the students and their parents in a public meeting.

"Education is a right of every citizen and as such it can only be exercised and enjoyed fully in a climate where the rights and welfare of students and young Filipinos are promoted and protected," the Senator said. Legarda stressed that students have several rights including the right against discrimination; right to competent instruction and quality education; right to organize, freedom of expression, and access to information; right to adequate welfare services; right to be represented in the highest policy-making body of the school; right to due process and privacy.

She also explained that the bill seeks to guarantee that no student shall be denied admission and welfare services, expelled or punished on the basis of physical disability, socioeconomic status, political and religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. Students who are pregnant, certified reformed drug abusers, and who have acquired HIV/AIDS must not be discriminated in education institutions.

The proposed measure also ensures that students are provided with quality education, thus, a written evaluation of the performance of teachers by students at the end of the school term must be enforced.

Furthermore, students must have access to welfare services such as free annual physical check-up, legal assistance in cases involving the exercise and enjoyment of their rights, counseling, and safe and clean academic facilities.

"Students are important components of our society not only because of their potential role as leaders of the country, but also because of their role as catalysts for development and effective change. We should therefore ensure that their rights and welfare are promoted and guaranteed," Legarda concluded.

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