Education commission supports probe on UP Manila student death-A A +A
Saturday, March 16, 2013
MANILA - The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) said Saturday it supports full investigation into the death of a state university student who committed suicide at her family residence in Tondo, Manila.
According to a report by the Philippine Collegian, 16-year-old Kristel Tejada, a first year Behavioral Science student at the University of the Philippines Manila, was declared dead on arrival around 3:30 a.m. Friday at the Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC) after she committed suicide.
The report said financial constraints may have triggered the suicide as the daughter of a taxi driver and a housewife was allegedly forced to file for a leave of absence by the state-run university last March 13, Wednesday.
"Ched supports a full investigation into the death of Kristel. It further supports and is involved in efforts to rationalize tuition fees as well as financial assistance to students particularly in state colleges and universities," said Ched chairperson Patricia Licuanan.
"The death of Kristel Tejada is a terrible tragedy," said Licuanan.
"I deeply sympathize with her parents on the death of their daughter as well as with the University of the Philippines and all of us for losing someone so young and promising," she added.
The report quoted Professor Andrea Martinez of the Department of Behavioral Sciences, saying Tejada was forced to take a leave of absence as "her family cannot cope with the necessary finances to support her education."
"[Pagkatapos niyang mag-file], nakapag-usap kami [sa text] at sinabi niyang malungkot siya at napakalaki ng epekto sa buhay niya at ng pamilya niya ng pag-LOA niya," Martinez told the Philippine Collegian.
Several groups on Friday mourned the death of Tejada.
Martinez added that Tejada was said to frequent the office of the Student Services for counseling services regarding her situation and has stopped attending her classes since February.
Meanwhile, the Ched chair took a swipe at politicians who may be using the death of Tejada in advancing their own political agenda as some lawmakers released statements in reaction to the UP Manila student's death.
"Suicide is always complex and must be approached with great sensitivity," said Licuanan.
"Simplistic speculation on cause does not help anyone. And using Kristel's apparent suicide to serve a political platform, no matter how valid, is unconscionable," she said.
Representative Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna party-list earlier said it was "deplorable" that the Aquino government continues to ignore the needs of the education sector.
Casino, along with other members of the progressive party-list bloc, has been pushing for a higher budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) in Congress.
"Education is a right. It is disappointing that our own SUCs are forced to increase tuition and fees because of inadequate state budget… The government should immediately increase the budget for SUCs instead of passing the burden to students and their families," he said.
Kabataan party-list, for its part, said the Forced Leave of Absence (FLOA) policy should be discontinued immediately. (PNA/Sunnex)