Palace calls for sobriety amid violent protests following death of UP student-A A +A
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
MANILA -- Malacanang called Tuesday for sobriety following the violent protest action conducted by several students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).
Some PUP students threw and burned chairs to condemn high tuition fees being imposed by some state colleges and universities (SUCs) like PUP.
The protest was made following the suicide committed by Kristel Tejada, a freshman student of the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila after reportedly being forced to leave the university for failure to pay P10,000 tuition fee.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, in a news briefing, said that what happened to Tejada was unfortunate.
"This is an unfortunate experience but let's deal with it calmly and with sobriety so that we can provide solutions rather than emotional responses to this," he said.
He said that the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) has asked different SUCs to look into their policies.
Lacierda said the government is not also remiss in its duty to support poor but deserving students.
"We have continuously [strived] for a greater budget for education," he said.
"What we're saying is that we have improved the budget as well of the SUCs. At the same time, we leave it with also the SUCs on how they manage their policies regarding tuition fee," he said.
Lacierda noted that Ched offers various scholarship programs aimed at providing better opportunities for the Filipinos, especially the youths.
"For instance, we've got scholarships for bright Filipino students whose general weighted average is 90 percent and above. The financial benefit is P30,000 per annum. We grants-in-aid for bright Filipino students whose general average is 85 to 89 percent and the grant is P15,000 per annum," he said.
"Then, we also have national integration study grant program for members of the cultural minority groups; selected ethnic group education assistance program for the members of the hill tribes," he said.
"We have the OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process)-Ched study grant program intended for former rebels and the legitimate and legitimized dependents which expands access to college education opportunities," Lacierda said.
Ched offers Grand-In-Aid or "Tulong-Dunong," under the DND-Ched-PASUC (Department of National Defense-Commission on Higher Education- Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges) Study Grant Program, which is intended for dependents of killed-in-action (KIA), battle-related Complete Disability Discharged (CDD), and Combat and Active Military Personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The commission gives education benefit to children of KIA-CDD-Combat in order to contribute to the well-being of the country's soldiers by ensuring their children’s education.
The Ched also provides the Student Loan Program with the component of Study-Now-Pay-Later Plan (SNPLP), Lacierda said.
The program is designed to promote democratization of access to educational opportunities in the tertiary level to poor but deserving students through financial assistance in the form of an educational loan.
"Then, we have study grants for poverty alleviation. We have the Bangsamoro special grant-in-aid program and other Ched programs," he said.
The Ched is mandated to provide these scholarship programs pursuant to Republic Act 7722, or the "Higher Education Act of 1994." (SDR/Sunnex)