Pa hopes UP ‘oppressive’ no more if, when Kristel siblings apply



Students pay their last respects to Kristel Tejada, the University of the Philippines Manila student who took her own life last week for lack of tuition money and whose death led to a review of UP’s policy for late payments. Her remains were brought to the UPM campus for public viewing on Thursday. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Despite what he called the “oppressive” tuition system at the University of the Philippines (UP), the parents of Kristel Tejada said that they would not prevent their other children from studying at the university.

At the wake of their daughter Thursday at The Little Theater on the UP Manila campus, Christopher Tejada told the Inquirer that they would leave the decision to their children.

“If they pass the UPCAT (UP College Admission Test), why not?” he said.

Kristel, a freshman taking up behavioral science at UP Manila and the eldest of the Tejadas’ four children, killed herself last week after she was forced to drop out of school due to her family’s inability to pay her tuition for the second semester.

The second child, a 12-year-old girl, is in Grade 7 and, like Kristel, a scholar at Manila Cathedral School. Tejada said his sons aged eight and five were also consistent honor students.

According to him, while changes needed to be instituted in UP’s Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program, he has high hopes that by the time his second child starts college, these will already be in place.

He acknowledged that studying at UP carried a certain “prestige” despite the “oppressive” tuition system. “Let’s wait and see. It’s up to (my children) if they want to study in UP,” he said.

Meanwhile, at a press conference, Tejada asked the public not to judge his daughter.

“If you didn’t know her, don’t be too quick to judge her. We also condemn what she did but we lost a daughter,” he said.

Seemingly OK


He added that Kristel’s suicide was very painful for them to accept and that while he seemed okay, even cracking the occasional joke, he would be inconsolable once his daughter was buried.

At the same time, he called for reforms in the UP enrollment system “to avoid another Kristel.”

The wake of Kristel was transferred yesterday from a funeral home in Sta. Cruz, Manila, to UP Manila. Her body arrived on the campus around 9 a.m.

Only members of the UP community were allowed to view her remains until noon after which Mass was celebrated.

During the Mass, Father Reverend Jorgen Orbe described Kristel as a young girl who felt “lost in the last moments of her life.”

“She was lost but in the mercy of God, we can hope that God has found her,” he said.

He added that people should learn from her tragic death, by “reaching out” to those who, like her, were “feeling lost.”

“In that way we can honor Kristel,” he said.  With a report from Erika Sauler

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  • sopingac

    I believe this no different from the case wherein a child was said to have commited suicide because of extreme poverty only to found that she was sexually abused. Now I am not saying Kristel is victim of the same circumstances but the motive is the same. Propaganda.
    The 1st case during the time of GMA and the motive was a no-brainer. The case of Kristel is a very good tool for propaganda of those elements in UP whose only function in life is to protest. These creatures wants free education and yet they will be the first to protest any form of new taxation.
    When I was young I share the same sentiment and now that I am older and became a legit tax-payer, I now appreciate more the value of what I can actually contibute for my country. I support free education for everyone but it won’t achieved if we also opposed measures that will actually finance its implementation.
    What happened to Kristel is sad but people should not buy the idea that she killed herslf because of the supposed policy of UP regarding tuition fees that affected her studies. The girl simply have an issue in dealing with problems and I don’t see any reason why she would have lived longer even if she had graduated from college.
    If the tuition fee issue made her kill herself then having to deal with far greater problems in life is a sure reason for a still early demise.

    • randyaltarejos

      Instead of offering your condolences to the bereaved family, you’re saying something that is not akin to the purpose as to why she committed suicide. At least, it was an eye opener for the U.P. management that such an act of ineptitude and arrogance doesn’t serve the good intentions of those who want to fulfill their dreams through proper education. Is killing oneself a propaganda? I don’t think so. What you’re thinking is beyond my comprehension. I can’t buy it. I’m sure millions of others will react badly to what you said. If Kristel didn’t commit suicide, do you think the SSS, GSIS and the U.P. will ever wake up to offer loans to their members now; and the U.P. management in Manila would introduce reforms that impinge on enrollment procedures? One life must be sacrificed so that we can appreciate the sad realities of life. That’s what the poor Kristel did. Otherwise, it should have been the same worms that some of the poor students at U.P. may fear during enrollment because they still some back accounts that were not settled due to lack of money. Do you have any solutions to parents who were born poor? You’re negative and immature statements all the more put a heavy burden on the wounded feelings of the family and those who mourn for her loss. May the Lord enlighten your mind and heart.

      • sopingac

        How many millions of kids and not only Filipinos are deprived of good education? I have yet to encounter the same case happened to anyone I personally knew. There should be other far greater reason for her suicide or else Kristel is weak mentally and psychologically. Real life is tough and killing oneself for the reason Kristel supposedly have is sure reason she won’t last long in this world.

        People should not get easily carried away by emotion. Yes, a precious life was lost but let us not look for an easy alibi for her death. Plainly blaming it on UP management or the system is just preposterous. It is not difficult to see the motive of those trying to blow this case out of proportion.

        We have 2 kids by choice and we know the huge responsibility of raising. We also encounter financial difficulties in providing for them but blaming it on the government or the system is never our first option in solving the problem. We have become a country so dependent on a government we should also be helping in the first place.

        I have yet to personally meet anyone who does not see and understand my point of view. We were not born rich but our parents never made it a reason for failure. I know how it is to be poor so don’t fool me with all your BS about me being immature. I am clearly mature and knows real life. We are raised to be responsible for our actions and this is certainly the reason for our difference in opinion. We don’t have the mentality of blaming others for our very own shortcomings and I do not need you or anyone to agree with how we were raised.

        Good luck to your populist views.

      • Justsaying

        I agree with sopingac. The girl was only 16 years and yet she carried the burden of paying her tuition and is probably distraught about how she could help her family. These problems should not be placed on her shoulders alone. The parents should be the ones worrying about these things.

      • Islaslolo

        Although unfortunate and you might be right that she killed herself because of other overiding reason besides her failing to continue her studies at UPM but the events after her suicide led us to look at our responsibiltiy to educate our children and our citizens. I am not blaming UP here and I believe it would be a disservice to ask for the resignation of the UPM chancellor.

        We have to look for solutions. Educating the next generation in order that we can progress as a nation and uplift our welfare as a population is the responsibility of both parents and society. This task is so important that we should have this national conversation long time ago in order to look at solutions that are necessary and sustianable.

        I am a trained engineer and I learn faster from my mistakes and misfortunes. But I look at the root causes of my mistakes and test failures and the events or process leading to them in order to have the correct approach towards a solution. I hope we can explore the root causes why we fail to educate our children and grandchildren. And then talk about the proper solutions or approach to our problems.

      • generalproblem

        i dont think UP is to blame. blame the parents. wala pala silang pera eh sana sa tup na lang nila pinasok. ang arte arte nyo kasi gusto pa kasi UP maramin naman skul dyan. kung walang pang tuition m,ag tesda na lang kayo. saka yang UP graduates marami dyan sumira sa pinas. dyan galing ang komunista, moro, diktador at mga iba pa..

      • randyaltarejos

        I agree with you. U.P. is not to blame for this mess. But has it ever crossed your mind, even for a split second, that there are people who don’t diskarte in life? I’m referring to the concerned parents of the victim. Remember the father is a hardworking taxi driver and the mother is a plain housewife. I bet that if the father owns the taxi cab he is driving, I don’t think Kristel would commit suicide. Because all the day’s earnings from the taxi will all go to his pocket, which will then allow Kristel to pay her tuition. But Mr. Tejada doesn’t own the taxi. Instead he is bound by the rule of boundary system. What happened was that the parents were put in a dire situation where their only alternative was to make an appeal with the UP management to allow Kristel to enroll, while the back accounts would be paid later. Allowing the parents to write a promissory note is another thing but this didn’t get into the picture. Hence, the leave of absence for the poor student.


      I agree with you Sopingac that UP is not the main reason for Kristel’s untimely demise. Am pretty much aware of the real cause of the girl’s suicide which you cited in the first paragraph of your post. Unfortunately, it’s already water under the bridge to publicly tackle the real motive of Kristel in deference to her memory. Be as it may, I hope the emotional reactions will simmer down toward the more logical and constructive public opinion on this issue. A good number of people became both the whipping dogs and escape goats as a result.

      Desiderata for all. Blessed be!

    • juanamboy

      well, sorry to say this. But people who have the same attitude as Kristel na suko agad sa di naman kalakihang problema when there so many options are not fit to exist in this world, in the first place. The world is a history of survival of the fittest at ang taong mahina ang loob, sooner or later, will be a gonner.

  • randyaltarejos

    I think this is also an eye opener for kind-hearted people to ask whenever they see someone who appears downtrodden anywhere. Just by asking them: “How are you? Are you okay?” will all the more make the person feels that somebody cares. For me, there are people who are weak to face the sad realities of frustrations in life that they have no other alternative but to commit suicide. Seek for help when you can no longer take it! I’m sure thare are lots of people out there who are more than willing to lend their time, efforts and money in order to help. In fact, Pope Francis has encouraged us to help the poor and the neglected.

  • Timothy Te-Co

    Maganda po nyan samahan din ng ama ng dagdag sikap sa pagtatrabaho at turuan din ang mga anak na maging matatag sa buhay. Pwede naman sigurong mamasukang part timer sa isang food chain kung gusto talagang makapagtapos.

  • dadwel

    why blame others when your daughter commit suicide? responsibilidad ng magulang paralin ang mga anak, kung hindi kaya pwede naman mag working student ang isang mag-aaral.

    Poverty is not reason para di makapag aral. Problema sa maraming pinoy they become PARASITES, gusto i asa lahat sa government. Dont get me wrong. Suicide has many angles di lang ang kahirapan.

    For the parents of Kristel. Before you put fingers to others, ask yourself kung wala kayong pagkukulang sa pagpapalaki ng tama sa anak nyo at bakit do kayo maka-diskarte ng iba pang paraan para mapag-aral anak nyo. Hay naku palagay ko kayo ang may pagkukulang dito.

  • Islaslolo

    My advice to the parents of Kristel Tejada is that you should also prepare for your children’s education and explore other ways to finance your children’s education. You should establish an educational savings plan for each one, it might be difficult but always doable.

    Since they are intelligent enough as evidenced by their academic standings, probably from their parents’ genes, they should be encouraged to attend the science high schools or top-notched public high schools. The reason for this is to be able to prepare them for other scholarships available to deserving students like the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program and other private scholarships. If they are truly prepared and have excellent academic and extracurricular records, they could even qualify for admission to foreign schools at the baccaluareate or equivalent level with full financial assistance.

    There is also the parents’ responsibility in making sure our children suceed in life. And planning for this starts before we even have children. We chose to have only two because we believe that’s the maximum number of children we can afford to take care of and give attention to and provide for their schooling and other needs and at the same time pursuing our own careers and other activities. We were fortunate that our children had generous financial assistance – a combination of grants and work-study program – during their entire formal education.

    • Korean_woman

      the problem is much deeper, it is difficult to have an educational savings plan for our children when the companies that operated such folded and were just ponzi schemes, How many parents were driven to despair and even suicide because of this, And our government just stood idly by

    • Kingkay

      the siblings will benefit from this. donations will pour from those who think this death is such a pitiful act. but if they grew up smart enough, they should realize there are so many options in life. they just need to make a move for themselves and make things happen

  • john_constantine

    My condolences to the family.

    However, I find the title distasteful. Kahit hindi na po “oppressive” ang mga patakaran ng UP ( na nagiging oppressive lang naman kung hindi nasusunod, i.e. submit ng late ang requirements na makailang ulit na na inextend tapos sasabihing hindi makatarungan), kung hindi talaga ginagawan ng paraan na pinaghahandaan makapag-aral ang mga anak wala rin.

  • aspirin200

    Excuse me. How did you lose your job again? Everybody assumed that your employer closed shop or something but I never came across any of that. Just wondering.

  • JasonBieber

    UP should improve the way they do things to be more student friendly. At the same time the government should do more to enable these colleges to do so. They should also support more the struggling students who study hard and deserve to be in school but have a tough time paying tuition.

    During the GMA years she had several programs catered to assist students with her multiple scholarships as well as her study now pay later initiatives…maybe the current Administration should take note.

    • generalproblem

      alam mo yang study now pay later ginagamit lang yan ng mga magnanakaw. madami akong kaklase na study now pay later at naging study now pay never. walang free lunch sa mundo magsumikap kayo kumayod kung wala pang aral.

      • JasonBieber

        The individual has to do what they can to make their studies work…at the same time the President has an obligation to his ‘bosses’ to create an environment that would allow students to study without having to drop out because of lack of tuition.

  • Vina Cole

    Many journalists acknowledge and applaud Kristel’s suicide as the highest form of
    sacrifice or an act of heroism on her struggle against an oppressive UP
    system that had deceived her like any other poor students who were
    enticed to take the UPCAT & being promised with financial assistance
    like STFAP which turned out to be oppressive & ruthless at all.
    Ridiculously, UP officials said that Kristel could have gotten the right STFAP
    bracket E2(E2= 100% free tuition, monthly allowance, book stipend, etc) had
    she completed the more ridiculously electric bill, photo of their humble
    abode, etc which were mainly the reasons for them to be ruthless and ruthless
    ruthless towards a very poor soul who was very humbly begging for a
    slice of her right to education that would get her family out of
    poverty…Who would not be distressed by this heartbreaking reality?
    Afterall, why did Kristel appealed against the wrong bracket that was
    assigned to her originally? Certainly because it was wrong and
    unacceptable! And by the time the UP officials said that the right
    bracket (E2) with the right financial assistance was just there waiting
    for Kristel until she completed the requirements was the time when they,
    UP officials, admitted that the STFAP is horribly defective and
    inefficient with its bracket assignment, as verified by the numerous
    students’ appeals for rebracketing not only recently but countless have
    been made since STFAP was first implemented in 1998.

    Kristel’s one heroic act of sacrifice has remarkably left us hope,
    inspiration, and fortitude to perpetually fight for our basic right to
    education as embodied in our constitution, which is the only way we
    could eventually eradicate poverty.


    • generalproblem

      what sacrifice? kabobohan kamo. ibig sabihin yung bata eh walang takot sa dyos dahil masamang upbringing ng magulang. magulang ang dapat sisihin dyan hindi UP. ni hindi nabanggit ng namatay yung UP sa kanyang suicide note eh..

    • carmela marie

      c’mon. other kids have worse problems than kristel but how many they take their lives? she had problems with coping with problems, real or not… that’s why she took her life. the tuition problem was just a catalyst. suicide is not a heroic act. it’s an act of giving up on life, period.


      *1989, not 1998

    • juanamboy

      hero ? a hero never quits fighting.

      wala ka lang pantuition suko ka na agad, magpapakamatay ka na ? hero ba yan ?
      baka hindi ka muna makakapagpatuloy ng pagaaral, suko ka na agad, magpapakamatay ka na ? hero ba yan ?

      a hero never quits ! ba’t di ka na lang muna mag-self-supporting, maghanap ng trabaho para makaipon ng pangtuition ? pweding side-walk vendor, balut vendor, waiter sa fast foods, magtutor, magvolunter worker, etc., etc. matalino ka naman dahil upcat passer ka.
      bakit nahihiya ka ba magtrabaho dahil mas gusto mo na full-time student lang o “professional” student. taas naman ng ego mo, arte-arte mo kasi.

      dami nga dyan nakatira lang sa ilalim ng tulay, kargador at nakatira na lang sa palengke sa pagsusumikap makatapos ng college pero nakaraos din. bakit di mo sila gayahin. matalino ka nga, hina mo naman. pinili mong magpakamatay instead na lumaban sa buhay.

      sige, kayong maaarte at bloated ang ego na mga estudyante, pag wala kayong pantuition wag kayong mag-self supporting, pagbantaan na lang nyo yong paaralan at mga magulang nyo na magpapakamatay kayo kung di nila kayo kayang tustusan as full-time or “professional” students. pwe

    • Yobhtron

      Dapat ang pangalan mo ay JINA COLE. Your reasoning is skewed and idiotic. Siguro miyembro ka ng LFS na makakaliwa na walang ginawa kundi magrally ng magrally at maghasik ng kaguluhan. Nakikinabang naman kayo sa UP diba tapos sisiraan niyo pa. Nagpakamatay ang bata dahil mahina ang loob at problema sa pamilya. Humingi kayo ng pera sa mga makakaliwang Tongressmen niyo gaya ni Casino na palaging umeepal.

  • generalproblem

    “oppressive” tuition system at the University of the Philippines (UP). Try nyo sa la salle kung di kayo maghirap sa mahal ng tuition fee. mura na ang tuition fee sa up kaya wag nyo sabihin na oppressive. ang mali dyan ay magulang bakit di nya ginawan ng paraan. ilang beses na syang napagbigyan alangan naman na lagi ka nalang pagbibigyan hindi lang anak mo ang studyante sa up. i dont believe na dahil sa tuition fee ito. sabi nga ni clavio nag away yung mag ina dahil sa bf. kaya malamang yun ang dahilan scape goat lang ang up. saka mukhang activista itong tatay kaya kinontak yung mga npa sa up at yun na sumama na ang image ng up.

    • ranjoranido

      nag PUP nalang sana sya mas mura dun kesa sa UP.


    I agree with the “prestige” in studying at UP as quoted by Kristel’s father. However, I strongly disagree with what he termed as UP’s “oppressive” tuition system. I know where am coming from having a daughter and niece who are UP graduates as well as the 2 post-graduate courses which I earned from UP. A number of poor UP freshmen from the provinces whom I assisted in working on their enrollment and other admission papers did not find the system as “oppressive”. I say studying at UP entails the corresponding responsibilities both on the part of students and parents.

    As the father expects his other children to study at UP, then he must pro-act toward their share in related academic expenses. Be a man, act responsibly instead of blaming UP. If you want a free lunch (which unfortunately comes far and in-between), work for it! Loosing one’s job is really bad, but remaining unemployed is worse. There are opportunities-no matter how small they are, somewhere out there as long as you are willing to accept a paradigm shift just to earn a living!

    • carmela marie

      Hm, prestige… I passed the UPCAT but I didn’t get to enroll in UP ‘coz my parents couldn’t afford it. I studied in a small state university somewhere in the Visayas and graduated with honors. Some of my high-school batch mates who managed to get inside UP threw away their chances by failing in their subjects, and failing to graduate and just acting cool ‘coz they were UP students. The education I got from an unknown university is at par with the global norms. I could compete with the brightest in Europe. So much for prestige. Being a UP student is overrated.

      • WAUNAKEE

        Good move Carmela Marie for knowing what and what you could not afford then. You got a lemon, but made lemonade out of it! Carry on with your good life and share it. Blessed be. . .

  • maximo p fabella

    In the 1950s, there tuition was lower. Many of those who enrtered Diliman were honor
    students. Children of faculty had to pay tuition in spite of the small salaries they
    received. Many well known names come to mind, there is Sen. Eddie Angara,
    Dick Gordon. Books were expensive, not everybody could afford the”sawali
    type” dorminotories, except those coming from the provinces. Some boarded with
    faculty relatives. I guess, this makes up for their :”minimally” insulting salaries.
    The faculty stayed and nurtured the students who were many a times, “the
    best and the brightest.”

  • Paul

    suicide is a complex matter. i don’t believe that the “not being able to pay tuition fees” is the main reason for the sad fate of kristel. there might be a “hidden” reason, which the parents are hiding, and blaming UP to escape the blame.

  • upupperclassman

    Stop blaming UP for all the wrong reason. Kasalanan ng magulang.

  • Kingkay

    one promising life wasted because of suicide. it reminds me of those poor people living in the streets, those who battle cancer, those who were born with disabilities, they have all the reasons to commit suicide but they don’t. it was a selfish act, it was not a sacrifice for the UP community. i don’t get it why the parents point fingers at UP, as if they were not to blame for anything.

  • Paulstronghold

    A premier institution like UP supposedly should not consider itself a business entity where profit is its primordial interest.Administrators manning this school must realized the basic tenet of this premier school is to HELP deserving students lacking in financial resources. Nothing more, nothing less. While some well-off students were also given opportunity to enroll because they too, have somewhat higher intellect and capabilities as per school standard, the very concept of establishing this school was designed with
    long term reasons and purposes, and that is to develop future leaders in their own communities. Non-payment of tuition fees is not enough ground for some administrators to compel Ms. Tejada to file leave of absence in her future class.
    These people should be sacked for they don’t deserve to stay long in this
    institution.So many options are available and non-payment of one person will not make the institution bankrupt.

    On the other hand, suicide is a serious facts of life. But it is an abnormal perception in life. Wrong paradigm imposed probably by the parents (who else? ) on their child could be the mitigating factor. Too much expectations could be the primary reasons the poor child ended her life. Personally, I felt spiritual emptiness hinges on the family of Ms. Tejada. May I suggest for the whole family to read the Words of God to keep them strong in Faith, Hope and Grace. Jesus said before He ascend to heaven..”I will
    never forsake you” Amen.

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