The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to establish a new Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) campus in the Municipality of Balangiga.
Under House Bill No. 9302, the ESSU will soon have its seventh campus in the said municipality.
“We, in Congress, are absolutely determined to further improve public access to free higher education, and the new ESSU campus in Balangiga will do just that,” House of Representatives Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan said in a statement on Monday.
The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 provides free tuition and other school fees to students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) such as ESSU.
“We have very high hopes that the new ESSU campus will enable Eastern Samar to produce a greater number of employable college graduates who can help their families achieve a higher standard of living,” Libanan said.
Libanan thanked House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez for their key roles in the passage of HB 9302.
Libanan previously served as representative of Eastern Samar’s lone congressional district for nine years before he was elected 4Ps party-list representative.
In 2004, Libanan authored Republic Act No. 9312, which integrated the former Eastern Samar State College with the former Maydolong National Agricultural School to form what is now the ESSU.
The ESSU’s main campus is in Borongan City, the provincial capital of Eastern Samar. The university also has campuses in the municipalities of Can-Avid, Guiuan, Maydolong, Salcedo, and Arteche.
Approximately 14,000 students are currently enrolled in ESSU, making it the second biggest SUC in Region 8 (Eastern Visayas) in terms of student population.
The biggest SUC in the region is Tacloban City-based Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU), which has around 19,000 students.
The Eastern Visayas region groups the six provinces of Biliran, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Southern Leyte.