Senseless suicide: Did the University of the Philippines kill Kristel Tejada?

kristel_tejada_suicideTragic is the only thing that accurately describes the way student Kristel Tejada ended her life at 16 over an inability to pay tuition fees due to the University of the Philippines (UP) where she was enrolled in a Behavioural Science course. As to the conclusions that were drawn from all that, debatable is the only word that comes to mind.

* * *

What are the odds?

How many UP students have committed suicide in the last 20 years? Perhaps before we go into hysterics about how bad the UP is, somebody should check first how the suicide rate among UP students compares to the national average. According to the National Statistics Office, the rate of death by suicide in the Philippines has gone up over the last two decades. According to the numbers, Kristel Tejada’s being a 16-year-old and already a college student (by itself a fact that should be raising eyebrows as well) puts her squarely within the highest-risk demographic (boldface added by author for emphasis)…

While the figures might seem insignificant compared with those from neighboring countries that recorded the highest suicide rates, the numbers have gone up from 1984 to 2005, especially among the Filipino youth, said Dr. Dinah Nadera, a psychiatrist and an associate professor of the University of the Philippines’ Open University who has been working on a suicide prevention strategy.

“This simply means that there is an increasing trend of suicide [especially] among the youth, particularly in the age group 5 to 14 and 15 to 24,” Nadera said at last week’s media consultation on suicide prevention conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Manila.

Did the UP administration “kill” Tejada? Perhaps there was some much-needed room for compromise and a bit of effort to to consider appeals on a case-to-case basis. But we need to be careful in what we choose to think with regard to this issue. This is an election year, and politicians and attention brokers are always sniffing around for things to turn into the latest outrage fad around which “campaign platforms” can be spun.

“Right to education” depends

Why is a college education important in the Philippines? Because a high school education alone gets you nowhere. At least that is the thinking that prevails in Philippine society. To many Filipino parents, kids who do not acquire a college education are failures. Filipino kids are therefore under intense pressure to secure that university degree at all costs. Failure to do so is tantamount to a death sentence in Philippine society.

Nakaka-hiya.

Perhaps this was what was in Tejada’s mind in the final moments of her life.

Was it the UP that put that extremist notion in Tejada’s head? Think again. As the old saying goes, point your finger at someone, and you will find the other three pointing back at you.

Law of supply-and-demand

Employers of clerical labour can demand university degrees from their applicants because they can. If even people with college degrees are making beelines to submit their CVs to employers offering clerical positions — bank tellers, filing clerks, customer service representatives, etc. — it means employers can choose applicants who offer them the best value. It’s called a buyer’s market. Employers (buyers of labour) are in that rather peachy position of being able to buy the labour market’s equivalent of Mercedes Benzs for a pittance.

Trying to control that deluge of credentialled talent into automatonesque jobs is like trying to prevent flash floods from ravaging Marikina by building a dike around the city. The only real sustainable solution to flash flooding is to plant forests big enough to absorb all the water being dumped by the hammering monsoon rains that hit the Philippines every year. As much as it is essential to life, water in excessive doses is toxic. Same principle applies to a talented labour force available in value-crushing abundance. You need to grow the forest of opportunity that will absorb this deluge of warm able bodies so that their value appreciates and is appreciated.

Leave-of-absence is not permanent and certainly not the end of the road.

Many students (including some friends of mine when I was a student) take leave-of-absence from UP when they fall into personal cirumstances that render them unable to meet the demands of the UP system. Such circumstances include health issues, family issues, and, yes, financial issues. One friend of mine took a year off to help set up the family business. That put him behind by 21 units to our batch but nevertheless came back, picked up from where he left off, met his future wife in his new batch, and graduated with honours.

Think then whether a policy requiring students who are unable to pay their tuition to take a leave-of-absence is really that unreasonable. Should this policy be repealed in the aftermath of Tejada’s suicide? In this case, the answer to that question may not be as obvious as some people make it out to be.

* * *

It’s really an exercise of telling people to suck eggs when we emphasize how complex an issue suicide is. And so being complex we shouldn’t really be quick to jump into one conclusion bandwagon or another in our desperation to make sense of the senseles.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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144 Comments on "Senseless suicide: Did the University of the Philippines kill Kristel Tejada?"

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jcc
Guest
I agree. I have gotten out from school because I have no money only to return after I have the money. Temporary setbacks should not be considered permanent derailment of your ambition to uplift yourself from the doldrums of ignorance. But that is me not Kristel. However, UP should provide you with a totally different experience. It is supported by tax money but only the rich monopolized the student quota of the school. The concept of socialized tuition and financial assistance program, (STFAP) was conceived to address that disparity and level the playing field. It is similar to “affirmative action”… Read more »
Jon Limjap
Guest
The girl is already an STFAP beneficiary. Alas she fell under the 70% discount bracket, not the 100% income bracket. Thing is she’s one of 5 kids… so the discount isn’t enough. I posed a question in my FB page on whether UP is a.) A university for poor students b.) A university for academically excellent students or c.) A university for poor but academically excellent students I believe that being an academically excellent institution is at odds with being an institution that is accessible to the poor, and the latter is addressed by other state universities (TUP, PUP, EARIST… Read more »
wenden
Guest
in statement the “other universities” for me this is one of the reason…there are too many universities and colleges around the philippines some are legitimate like UP and others and some are built because of the famous politicians….training center also added for free to a group of people….indeed there are budget for educational but there too many to feed universities and college that produce communist/leftist, college that doesnt produce quality student. hence UP suppose to be budget was cut down to support other government institution….why not shut down those schools that do not met the standard and divert the budget… Read more »
wenden
Guest
damn so sorry i dont know how to edit…. in your statement, the word “other universities”, for me this is one of the reason……there are too many universities and colleges around the philippines some are legitimate like UP and some are built because of the famous politicians…….training center also added to the problem using the our tax for free to a group of people…….indeed there are aloocated budget for education system but there are too many to feed like those universities and colleges that produces communist/leftist, colleges that doesnt produce quality student. Hence UP allocated budget was cut down to… Read more »
johndoenymous@gmail.com
Guest
johndoenymous@gmail.com

“16-year-old and already a college student” – I actually find nothing wrong with this. Of course, a few years ago, I was also a 16-year-old in college.

Jon Limjap
Guest

A lot of Filipinos do. And that is a problem best explained by my Philosophy professor: that 16 year olds are too young to take up college, not because they are not intelligent enough to study and learn, but because they are not mature enough to appreciate the nuances of intellect and deep thought.

Add to that the pressure to “get a job quickly to lighten the family’s burden” and you get a perfect storm of kids scampering to enter the rat race with no hope for a truly meaningful life.

johndoenymous@gmail.com
Guest
johndoenymous@gmail.com

I see. I do agree with your Phlo Professor, at least in my case, all I was wanted was good grades, I did not appreciate the knowledge and skills I’ve gained until I started with my thesis years later.

skyturn
Guest

Spot on! A simple case of emotional vs. intellectual intelligence.

beth
Guest

i agree w/ u….added pressure from parents who are putting high hopes on their children..”to lift them up from poverty”

Indaysava
Guest

I was 15yrs old when my mother took me to UPLB as a freshman, a promdi at that, who has only been to Manila maybe 3 or 4 times prior to that. I basically “grew up” in the dorm. So I don’t see nothing wrong with that, either… but then again, maybe because our generations have been through more hardships that strengthened our characters – built our “tibay ng loob”, that enabled us to survive the harsh & demanding world of college life.

Libertas
Guest

were you part of the freshman sex auctions – now in the news.
it doesnt sound like a serious university. certainly not in global 500.
vocational training for ktv bars – have met a few up graduates there, and not very bright!

Indaysava
Guest

What the heck are you talking about? And what does it have to do with me starting college at 15yrs old? Maybe in your wolrd it is impossible, but in my family it is expected! I came from a long line of scholars, albeit promdis.
If you must know, I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, licensed to practice in the Philippines and has been practicing as a licensed Veterinarian here in the USA. Your comment is not only rude but also uneducated.

Libertas
Guest

sorry, i was uneducated at oxford..
just curious about the moral terpitude and intellectual rigour of up, especially if they are taking child geniuses at 15.

Indaysava
Guest
To LIBERTAS: You may have attended Oxford, but sadly for your alma mater, your language & logic is that of an unedicated person. I believe Oxford has its own share of child prodigies. I’m not even claiming to be one, it was just a fact of life that I went to school early – I started kindergarten at 3 yrs old (and in the Philippines during the 80s, if you are not aware, you can start school at 1 year old if you are able to sit thru your classes w/o your mom or nanny & w/o crying or peeing/pooping… Read more »
Libertas
Guest

@indaysava

Good luck on the dating scene.
I wouldn’t date a vet – you do know where their hand has been!

I also wouldn’t date a up girl – you know their pussy has had a ‘vets inspection’.

Vets do it doggy style. Woof,woof.

Peace and love

JM
Guest
i agree to this. being poor is not an excuse. lucky for u.p student that they have an option to file a loan for tuition but for us at a state university in central luzon,no such luck during my college years. and yet, my mother managed to keep me on college single handedly and with an income lower than hell.and there are ways to earn money while studying too- i worked at a fast food resto while studying to help out with the finances.i think it is all about parents making their kids tough to cope with the realities of… Read more »
lily
Guest
Finally someone mentions this…I had been thinking about that fact regarding Ms. Tejada. We have a preschool-age child who may already be accepted into a program requiring that she be 5 years old. She just turns 5 when school starts and so we are holding her back a year, just so she won’t be the youngest. More parents have been said to regret sending their children earlier than having held them back a year. I won’t go into a discussion about this here. The commenters have already said it. Yes people develop at different rates but seriously…when I heard she… Read more »
Christaline
Guest

I know someone that took him ten years to graduate engineering just because he lacked the money. He had to drive a pedicab to save up, and he also supports his family so it was really difficult. his school wasn’t even ateneo or those other expensive schools, it was a state university in davao del sur. i wondered then why there was no assistance for him, i just can’t understand it.

Jon Limjap
Guest

Did he seek help? Did he apply for any kind of scholarship from any kind of organization?

AlexG
Guest

Is it solely her LOA/tuition issues that drove her to commit suicide?

alexandriah nicosia
Guest
I don’t think so.UP did what they can. They shouldn’t be blamed solely for what happened to her.UP is not a charity institution. It is indeed a state univeristy but not and never a charity institution. It is her decision to end her life and the university or the faculty did not ask her to do that. With the kind of parents she has, I think she is being pressured to finish college at all cost so that she can get her family out of poverty. A lot of responsible poor parents do everything just to give their kids the… Read more »
mangcosme
Guest
May I add, though perhaps a bit late, my two cents’ worth? We sympathize with her family because they lost a child, a daughter. But, as some readers pointed out here, blaming UP for the suicide is way off the mark. A lot of student do file LOAs for a lot of reasons and it should not result to a loss of life. It is the responsibility of the parents to look for the means to ensure their children get education. There are hundreds of families out there who do all they can to be able to pay their kids’… Read more »
annie
Guest
The only positive thing that came out from the unfortunate suicide of a 16 year old, UP student, was the realization: why does UP- a university funded by the blood and sweat of the Filipino people, opens @ accepts a good number of students from affluent family? Why not the government opens UP, solely to the deserving poor students who also come from public high school @ give them education with allowance, totally FREE??? There are too many deserving students from public high school who deserve to be in UP, but since it opens also to students from private and… Read more »
Jon Limjap
Guest

While my immediate kneejerk reaction to your comment is to disagree, you did make a thoughtful compromise towards “kung tatanggap man ang UP ng anak ng mga may kaya…”. The salary of professors is one perfect point — I had a LOT of UP graduates (both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees) as full-time professors in DLSU, and the reason they’re there instead of in UP is obvious.

I wonder how government types (and leftists) will react to that kind of suggestion.

johndoenymous@gmail.com
Guest
johndoenymous@gmail.com
“solely to the deserving poor students” I have to disagree on this one. UP wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t have representatives from all walks of life. I forgot what they call the system that give priority to certain regions/groups but I think that one helps maintain the diversity in each campus. “Kung tatanggap man ang UP ng anak ng mga may kaya…” When you got to this part, I agree with you. STFAP is there for a reason but the default bracket is too high and IMO, it’s incredibly troublesome and quite hard to prove that one belongs… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest

“solely to the deserving poor students”

This makes it an issue of class warfare and discrimination. Students won’t be accepted based on merit or academic achievement; they are judged based on economic status.

Johnny Saint
Guest
Why is the sole focus on what culpability UP may have? Because you feel there aren’t enough free handouts to “poor” students? Why is the debate on whether UP should allow students from more financially capable backgrounds or deny them altogether simply because they were born into circumstances outside of their control? Just as students from impoverished circumstances never asked to be poor. Instead of dumping the burden on the universities, expecting them to pick up where deficiencies of primary and secondary education have left off, you’d have to re-engineer the entire educational system from kindergarten to ensure that ALL… Read more »
Glenn
Guest

What was going on with this poor girl is anyones’ guess. Blaming anyone or anything other than the the poor girl herself is to try to escape responsibility.

The truth is that , for whatever reason, the young lady sought a permanent solution to a temporary problem.it may sound harsh and I actually wish someone could have done something to prevent it, but that obviously did not happen. The guy who posted that life is not fair is goddamm right, it is not, and it will not ever be.

btw, condolences to the family and,R.I.P..

meldy parungao
Guest
its true, suicide is not the answer to this problem….but the feelings of having nothing and so eager to take the exam is something that is so painful to bear for a student who is academically excellent. the pressure of getting a college education, of having her dreams of emancipating her family put to an end is so painful to handle. imagine for a sum of ten thousand pesos, the school could always hold her credentials…UP is operated by the taxpayers money…di to mauubos…at ang kawalan ng pambayad ng ay di pang matagalan…hahanap at hahanap yan ng pambayad to get… Read more »
Josh
Guest
“money should never be the issue in pursuing one’s dreams.” Amen to this. I couldn’t take the course that I wanted because my parents said “It’s not gonna get me a paying job in the future.” I couldn’t complain, they only want what’s best for me and I’m thankful that they could even afford me an education when so many others couldn’t. But this is exactly what’s gotten the country stagnant, the same thinking that’s gotten so many kids going to nursing school. The system we have right now disallows children to aspire, dream, and dream big. Money.. It’s the… Read more »
JM
Guest
I tend to disagree on this one – I took up some units of law at a private school – and the administrators let me take my exams without paying my tuition – yun nga lng,nkahold yung credentials ko. I think it all boils down on how you cope up with the situation. hindi tamang sisihin ang eskuwelahan kung bakit naghihigpit sila pagdating sa tuition fee payment. Hindi din tamang sisihin ang U.P sa suicide ni Kristel – siya ang nagdecide na gawin yun. She might be pushed to the edge but in the end,it is still up to her… Read more »
17Sphynx17
Guest
I agree with the points here and some points by the commenters but I do not agree on one major point. UP should not be exclusively for the poor. When you apply to UP, you are required to submit your family’s income bracket and I know it is also required to indicate how many appliances and what kind they are there. Whether rented or owned. This allows them to asses your family’s capabilities in paying for your tuition. From that bracket, there is a set amount of “dicsount” you will be entitled to. And also, there is random spot checking… Read more »
BlueStreak
Guest
A sensible comment indeed. “Well, as everyone said, you can file LOA and defer your studies to save up. You do not completely lose your right to study. And just like board exams, you can always try again at a later date, once you are ready/prepared to take on the challenge (in this case paying the tuition).” Could have been the option. Nevertheless, the case leads at least to UP being more “open” to its student in its policies than what it previously was. And to blame them, (but not to the extent that it is “sensationalized”) is something I… Read more »
BlueStreak
Guest
Sorry for the typos. To add one thing, the entire issue has also been put to perspective at different angles, yet this is the fact. Ms. Tejada is dead and that to be honest, to know the cause of her death would be best explained if we can find evidences (as explicit as possible) that would hint the motivation. One example would be “death note”. For now, I see no wrong in blaming the UP for being a contributory factor of her death. It is valid argument for now and even the UP Chancellors are admits openly for that being… Read more »
BlueStreak
Guest

are*(should be omitted)

ChinoF
Member

Suicide after all is the person’s decision, so they have most of the blame for it. They decided to go the easy way, they went… and let others suffer in the end.

And on the social aspect, perhaps she, or others who aren’t committing suicide, are the ones rushed through college so they could be milked by their dole-out seeking relatives? Is that the point of going through college? Get a high-paying job so everyone else can milk you?

Josh
Guest

Going to college should be for you. But let’s face it, the level of poverty is just too damn high. Unless this milking culture stops, this will be the case for most of our youth. And in the future, they’ll have jobs, unsatisfied with their lives, output is mediocre, depressed and suicidal. Society will not have improved in the future. Sad

ChinoF
Member

And the Spinsbusters site seems to imply this:

Was this tuition issue the real cause for the girl to commit suicide? Or was it something else?

We need to ask this question. Even I doubted at first that tuition reason that most media outlets gave. And to think, Rappler is one of those that spread this angle.

Jon Limjap
Guest

Rappler was not the first one to give this angle. It is the Philippine Collegian.

ChinoF
Member

Spinbusters says it was still second-hand information. So the assumption that the motive was frustration over being made to stop studying from tuition non-payment is still questionable. So all this talk about the school may be leading elsewhere.

jcc
Guest

of course, it was the cyanide that killed her. but what caused her to take that desperate measure?

has anyone any concept of distributive fault? the only fault you can ascribe to Kristel was her being born poor, UP for not living up to the “social justice” doctrine behind the STFAP.

If I am an unlicensed driver on the road colliding with another motorist who was drunk, does that excuse me for driving without a license?

jcc
Guest

or would that excuse the drunk driver from his fault?

ChinoF
Member

It was school paper people who claimed the tuition issue was the cause of suicide. But can we believe this? In fact, suicide is complex. This is just another sensationalized and oversimplified treatment of another problem. I myself don’t accept at face value that it’s the tuition issue.

jeanne
Guest
I went to UP, thinking I will fit in and somewhat get a degree from the most reverend university in the country. I thought it was easy and boy, I was utterly wrong. After 2 years of attending, I left and that leaving gave a peace of mind that troubled me during my stay. It is certainly not the money aspect but the culture and standards of UP – also similar to the Filipino mindset that a person like me can spend time, money and effort and just walk away like nothing happened. I think nobody knew how much pressure… Read more »
Robert Haighton
Guest
I have read this story last Saturday in PhilStar. And the first thing that came to my mind was this (okay, pls dont shoot me yet. I am thinking in western, European ways): How can a system or parents put so much pressure on a kid (16 year old) that she MUST support her mom, dad and 4 other brothers and sisters? Any kid or adoloscent must be free of any burden to choose a school and major to become successful as student and hopefully become a fine and good employer. Whether this pressure was “self-inflicted” or imposed, that doesnt… Read more »
Lyn
Guest

According to one article, her family was about to leave for the province since they could not afford the city life when she received her acceptance letter to UP. Your family sacrifices for you and you sacrifice for your family, it’s probably the Asian mindset. It is quite common for the eldest girl for example to study Nursing no matter what their interest is during the Nursing boom so that they can fund their siblings’ education. These days it’s Med Tech.

Robert Haighton
Guest
@Lyn, This Asian or Philippine system of “sacrifice” will not contribute to anything good in the long run (again from a western point of view). The parents put those 5 kids on this planet. If that is a sacrifice then pls stop procreating. So bec you sacrificed, I also must sacrifice. Wow, thats really a beautiful world there. And oh boy, Kristel did sacrifice. Like I stated before you Philippines have a total different mind set than most Europeans. I really wouldnt want to feel that burden on my shoulders. And why is it always only the (oldest) daughter? What… Read more »
Lyn
Guest

@Robert Haighton

It’s actually an eldest child thing. My father never graduated from high school, at 12, he was helping at the family store. He had three siblings to think about and things were tight at one point. He was as proud as any father when my uncle earned his Masters degree. None of us children needed to work for our education, as well, and he was really proud to have us all graduate.

Robert Haighton
Guest

@Lyn,

oldest child or only oldest daughter? I am sure there are exceptions but in the case of Kristel (and again looking at with western glasses) I think its ridiculous to put such a pressure on a kid/a child. I am sure nobody wants to be the first born daughter in any family.

And even when the kids have to support their family then why not divide the burden among all the kids. Each offspring is partly responsible for the burden to take care of and to support the family. The pressure per person becomes lower in such situations.

Lyn
Guest

@Robert Haighton

It really depends on the family but I know of some families who stagger responsibility. The parents put all their resources to get the eldest child to finish college. The eldest child helps the second eldest…and so on. The youngest child doesn’t get a break, they’re the ones who usually end up taking care of the parents in their old age.

Robert Haighton
Guest

@Lyn,

Okay thanks for the explanation. All I can say is that I dont like the system. It seems that procreation is only based and done to be taken care of when parents are old. Seems like a selfish decision to procreate and not focused on the individual future of the child itself. How can children excel with so much pressure? and what if the kids miss the IQ to graduate from a college, high school or even university? Not everyone is born with the right set of brains.

Lyn
Guest

@Robert Haighton

I have no answer for you there. Choice is a luxury of someone who is rich enough to go their own way. Philippines is a country whose primary export is labor(both skilled and semiskilled). Children are often the only long term security people have. I can’t judge as I am very middle class.

Robert Haighton
Guest

@Lyn,

My apologies, I was just thinking out loud by raising those questions. Sometimes or more often we dont have clues and answers to questions (not biblically meant). Anyway, its a pity and shame Kristel committed suicide. It was really unnecessary. Probably, she thought that was the only out.

Robert Haighton
Guest
Lyn, “Choice is a luxury of someone who is rich enough to go their own way.” => I disagree with you on this one. Choices can be made even when we are the poorest of the poor. Tell yourself (as poor parent): “I dont want my kid(s) ever to experience the same as I did. I want my kid to thrive, to excel and be happy.” Let those kid(s) fly away free and let them pursuit their own destination without the burden to support the parents. It just needs introspection, retrospection and being balanced. It needs no money nor wealth… Read more »
Josh
Guest

Putting pressures on children is very wrong indeed. But in our cultural case, some children feel obliged to help out in anyway they can. Its the thinking here. I guess you could consider Kristel’s case as her thinking that she’s failed her family and so committed suicide. The mere fact that she thought that was the end of things is a measure of her maturity. The whole system should be in question then because obviously, a 16y.o’s thinking is not mature enough for a college environment.

Robert Haighton
Guest

Josh,

some things will remain unbelieveable and hard to understand (from a western point of view). I guess one has to live there for many years and decades to really get the full extent of it. Well for me the title of this Blog is spot on: “Senseless”. The suicide doesnt serve a purpose, for nobody. It probaly wont even change the way Kristel’s parents will think about the next in line to take care of them (the parents). So, its a lose-lose situation.

Josh
Guest

An answer to the issue you are pointing out would be family planning and reproductive health and education. But that’s another issue. People don’t see the need for the bill to be passed, instead, blindly follow the Philippine church and their senile leaders.

The thing about problems here is one perpetuates the other. And they’re all thanks to the typical Pinoy psyche.

Robert Haighton
Guest

Josh,

the bill is now a law but only delayed by 120 days most recently, right? I dont think a law is needed to change how people (must or will) think. The change must come from within the person. But like you already stated thats a complete other issue.

jcc
Guest

from a western point of view? hell, your medicare/medicade, obamacare, food stamps, unemployment checks are highly evolved asian concept of “i am my brothers keeper.”

Robert Haighton
Guest

But at least we dont fuck so that our kids have the burden and feel the burden to take care of their own mom & dad.

jcc
Guest

yeah, you fuck everyone else, except your family… 🙂

Indaysava
Guest
I am a filipina, gre up in the Philippines & was educated in UP but I share your exact sentiments Mr Haighton. It is very disappointing to hear & watch the interviews of the parents where the empahsis is on the loss of their daughter who is their only hope for a better future. Why place such a hevy burden on your young daughter? Whose responsibility is it to provide a better future for the family – is it the parents’ or the childrens’? It is the parents’ responsibility, as long as they are still alive & able bodied (like… Read more »
Indaysava
Guest

typos:
* grew
* heavy
*emphasis

Indaysava
Guest

*educated

beth
Guest

@Robert Haighton: you’re right…though am Filipino but I’ve heard that perception oftentimes from parents here…(luckily my parents are not like that)..Parents would brag that they were able to lead a good life because of their children..at all cost..(daughter has a rich foreigner husband, or her sons are in Middle East as construction worker/seamen)

Robert Haighton
Guest

Typo: employer = employee

comounsueno
Guest

This is not a time for you nor your friends who have struggled while completing your respective degrees to flaunt to the world your achievements despite the situation. This is not the time for you to judge the weak. How self-righteous!

This is a time for us to unite and ask ourselves, “Why is it a struggle for our children to claim their basic rights to education?” You simply don’t get the point. I hope that my taxes were not used to fund your education because you don’t deserve it.

jcc
Guest

@comonsueno,

during my time as a student, i deserved your tax money.. and there are lot of students equally deserving. some people do not get the philosophy behind STFAP. it germinated at the time of O.D. Corpuz, but was put in place after his time. during his reign as UP President, the program comes under Grants-In-Aid. Poor students have to apply for the grants by submitting income returns of their parents at Vinzons Hall. In UP Manila, I don’t know if they have a Vinzons Hall there.

jcc
Guest

emotion is part of human psyche… sometimes it is better to listen with your heart and not with your ears and brain.

UP is a private preserves of the rich and the conyo crowd. During my time, our classmates were scions of Senators/Congressmen, Businesspeople, Justices of CA/SC. Ony about 3 of us came without old-money and influence.

alexandriah nicosia
Guest
How come you are so bitter about this whole stuff? Haven’t you moved on with your own struggles while in college? Rich people also deserve to attend good schools and universities such as UP. If they have the brains, why not? They want quality education so why rich and influential people are ridiculed for attending UP? That is why we have PUP, TUP and other state universities where poorer people can get good education without shelling out too much. They just choose the prestige of being a UP student.And the way you voice out your opinion is just too embarrassing.You… Read more »
jcc
Guest
You missed the point. The reason UP is a rich enclave is not because there are plenty of smart people who are rich compared to poor people. As one commenter here said, the odds in UP were stacked against the poor even before their getting into its gates. STFAP seeks to address that “odds,” which the school authorities, in the case of Kristel had moribundly screwed up. I have no problem if you are rich and had attended UP. I am only arguing for fair allocation of resources which is tax-sourced, and not to be monopolized by the rich who… Read more »
jcc
Guest

And by the way, do you really believe that rich people in the country (except for a few) are really honorable and with impeccable integrity?

Please read Alfred McCoy’s Anarchy of Families?

jcc
Guest
@alexandriah; Just to give you a headstart on McCoy’s Anarchy of Families, here is the intro: “Recent decades have deepened a central Philippine paradox. How and why has this island nation, a veritable “lost Eden” rich in natural resources, become a very poor country with a very wealthy oligarchy?1 As revolutions, empires, and regimes have come and gone over the past two centuries, the Filipino oligarchy has survived from generation to generation, amassing ever greater wealth and power with every twist in this tangled national history. With each passing decade, the country’s juxtaposition of private wealth and public squalor seems… Read more »
Indaysava
Guest
I don’t believe those who are sharing their struggles & triumph are being self-righteous. Their testaments are not there to condemn Kristel. I myself shared my own stories of struggles because there are still many who are & will be experiencing financial difficulties like kristel. Some may even be going through worse situations. I think there is a common desire for us who struggled & survived to encourage them & let them know that poverty is not a hindrance to reach your dreams – that it can be done, you just have to keep on going, even if the odds… Read more »
gerry
Guest
emotionsaside
Guest
It’s just another well-written piece to appeal to emotions. I am all for the overhaul of STFAP (which, by the way, was nearing completion and was already for implementation next semester) and making UP accessible to all qualified students, but I hate that a suicide is romanticized (and irresponsibly reported by media by simplifying the cause and being specific with the method, for anyone to copy) and used as a fuel for outrage that is greatly disproportionate and misdirected at UP *alone*. All this protesting and voicing out and pakikibaka, good, sure, but maybe also put a little more critical… Read more »
jcc
Guest
Wow, how callous… You do not know the situation on the ground. You are perched from an ivory tower, obviously. There was a proposal that UPCAT passing scores by applicants coming from the barrios be lowered compared to applicants coming from the cities. The reason behind was the test is a component of reading comprehension in english, current events and vocabulary, and of course with some spices on math and science. The proposal was shelved because the city dwellers were benefitting from undue advantage of having Televisions, radios and newspapers as against barrio dwellers who got their news from old… Read more »
emotionsaside
Guest

And which tower are you residing?

I was also just an iska opting to walk from bldg to bldg to save my Ikot money.

I am very grateful for my education because for one, I learned not to simplify, romanticize and use as a political soapbox a tragic young death.

UP is not completely blameless, but the cards have been stacked against the poor before even arriving at UP’s gates.

jcc
Guest

nah, it’s not romanticism, it is righteous indignation…

Veejay
Guest

Hi jcc,
So if ever Kristel’s loan application was approved, and after sometime, another 1000 students from UP suddenly was financially deprived because of catastrophic events, would you approve all their loans as well?

I understand your point, but I just want to see the effect if we try to follow your lead.

jcc
Guest

you assumed that all these 1000 economically deprived applicants passed the UPCAT. If yes, are the quotas for 1000 seats in UP available?

In the case of Kristel, she is within the quota, only that he could not pay the cost of the quota.

Avid
Guest

Thank you for this article. I’ve been very bothered with the very sensational approach to how this tragedy was covered.

jamie
Guest
Certain things cannot be helped. In her case, she is obviously an intellectual who was able to be accepted to her chosen college. How many of us losers can brag about this? Certainly not me. That fact alone already leads us to the conclusion that she is used to getting things her way if she sets her mind to it- but life is definitely unfair and things do not go your way regardless of how much effort you put into it. Failure is not an option for her. She has failed because some system is not perfect. That is not… Read more »
Indaysava
Guest

Thank you, Jamie!

beth
Guest

correct!thanks jamie

alibiserver
Guest
My take on the UP Manila issue, and yes, I might take flak for it: While a university of the Philippines may mean a university free from any tuition plus allowances, it must also espouse research, innovation and world-class quality. It must also represent and embody the latter. Something that UP badly needs funds for. How can you both serve these two masters at once? TOFI was initiated around 20…06-07 to the chagrin of most poor students to increase funding to the fledgling university because of warranted increased funding. I was one of those fellow isko that sat at the… Read more »
traffice2000
Guest
Nalulungkot ako dahil kailangan pa ni Kristel kitilin ang kanyang buhay dahil sa hindi siya pinayagang mag-enroll or makapatuloy ng kanyang pag-aaral dahil sa kakulangan sa pambayad ng kanyang tuition fee, kung sana mas may nagawa lang yung mga magulang niyang paraan para makapagproduce sila ng pera para ipambayad, sana may mga taong tumulong sa kanila ng nilapitan sila ng magulang ni kristel o lumapit sa kanila yung bata, sana kahit papano nilapit nila sa mga congressman or baranggay captain nila na pansamantalang pahiramin ng pambayad since alam nila na matalino si kristel o sana may mga kamag-anak na nagmamalasakit… Read more »
Isabel reyes
Guest

Agree. Sayang na buhay. Isang napakabatang estudyante, na napakaraming pressure sa buhay at Gutom! ( as her father said on TV) ang baon nya sa lunch nya ay isang supot ng KENDI.) Makapag isip pa kaya siya ng matino? Bilang magulang. Siguraduhing ang responsibilad para mag payo, magpalakas ng emosyon at enough na pagkain sa hapag ay nagagampanan.

Nathania
Guest

Thank you for this. Thank you very much!

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