Groups lament suicide of UP student-A A +A
Friday, March 15, 2013
(UPDATED) Several groups on Friday mourned the death of a University of the Philippines (UP) Manila student who reportedly committed suicide after being forced to file for a leave of absence due to financial constraints.
According to a report by the Philippine Collegian, 16-year-old Kristel Tejada was declared dead on arrival around 3:30 a.m. Friday at the Metropolitan Medical Center (MMC) after she committed suicide at her family residence in Tondo, Manila.
Tejada is a freshman Behavioral Science student at UP Manila in Ermita.
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.
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.
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.
Representative Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna party-list 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.
"This is a grave tragedy. Her bright future had already been jeopardized before today due to policies like FLOA (forced leave of absence), soaring tuition and other fees, commercialization of education and the overall bankruptcy of the government’s economic policies. All of these contributed to the heartbreak that we all feel today," the group's president lawyer Terry Ridon said.
According to the group, the student was a bracket B student, meaning that she paid P1,000 per unit for her tuition.
The League of Filipino students also joined the UP Manila Community in mourning the death of the first year Behavioral Science student.
"More than poverty, she is a victim of neglect of the Aquino government. She represents the Filipino youth who are compelled to live in deplorable conditions because of Aquino’s economic policies that translate to inadequate jobs, unjust wages, inaccessible education, etc, for the Filipino people," Issa Baguisi, National Spokesperson of the League of Filipino Students, said.
The Manila Collegian, for its part, mourns Tejada's death and "condemns the repressive policies of the UP Manila administration. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)