Press Release
September 28, 2019


Senator Manuel "Lito" Lapid has filed a bill seeking to ensure the availability of affordable college and post-graduate textbooks among underprivileged students in universities and colleges all over the country.

Senate Bill No. 898 also known as the Cheaper Books for the Poor Act, intends to institutionalize a mechanism that will provide low-cost textbooks and other supplemental materials to students.

Despite the passage of Republic Act no. 10931 or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which provides tuition-free education in state universities and colleges all over the country, Lapid said there are still challenges that beset impoverished students, including the affordability of college education textbooks.

However, through the proposed measure, students can borrow books at an affordable price or on a loan basis in order to lower the cost of purchasing college and post-graduate textbooks and supplemental materials.

"Maraming mga estudyante ang gumagastos ng malaki para sa mga libro na isang semestre lamang naman nila gagamitin, pagkatapos noon ay wala na, nakatambak na lamang sa istante. Samantalang mas nakararaming mga kabataan ang ni hindi makabili ng libro dahil mas pipiliin nilang gastusin sa pamasahe o pagkain ang kanilang kakarampot na baon," Lapid said.

According to the senator, this program will reduce the cost of college and post-graduate education.

Moreover, under the proposed legislation, book rental distribution branches in different provinces, cities and municipalities shall be established under the Philippine Textbook Rent Foundation (PTRF)--which will be an attached agency to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

PTRF will be in charge of reproduction and procurement of the books needed in college and post-graduate studies. It shall also create a databank which will provide all the necessary information regarding the available textbooks that the students can borrow.

The foundation is also mandated to establish a national website for its services to be easily accessible to the public. Apart from featuring the packages and services offered by PTRF, the website shall also provide the list of accredited branches and distributors of cheaper books as well as a market information system for the benefit of prospective borrowers.

Furthermore, in order to ensure the sustainability of the program, a trust fund shall be established as a source of the funds to be used to purchase and reproduce the books needed by the students.

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