UP Visayas students stage protests in wake of coed suicide
ILOILO CITY, Philippines–Students of the University of the Philippines Visayas joined protest actions on Tuesday to demand an overhaul of the UP system’s tuition scheme and higher government subsidy to education.
Students at the UPV campuses in Iloilo City and Miag-ao town wore black to mourn the death of Kristel Tejada, a first year student of UP Manila, who committed suicide on March 15 after she was allegedly forced to file a leave of absence for being unable to pay the tuition.
In Miag-ao town, 44 km south of this city, students held a picket and a minute of silence at the College of Arts and Sciences building.
They were scheduled to hold a protest march in the evening from the dormitory area to the administration building, where a program and candle-lighting activity will be held, according to Angeli Louise Cando, secretary general of the UPV Samasa party alliance.
The students also demanded for the scrapping of the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program, the tuition scheme adopted by the university since 1989 which pegs the student’s tuition based on the income of the student’s family.
The STFAP has been criticized by student groups as highly flawed and an income-generating scheme to make up for lower government subsidy to UP and the educational system.
“We are also demanding a tuition rollback and greater subsidy to education,” John Philip Fuego, chair of the CAS student council, said in a telephone interview.