Bishop hit over tuition, ‘arrogance’

Online petition accuses Maasin prelate of ignoring law on consultation

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MAASIN CITY—Maasin Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin, president of St. Joseph College (SJC), is facing criticisms in an online petition posted on Change.org over several issues including the alleged illegal collection of tuition and other fee increases.

The petition, entitled “The Josephinians speak out against Bishop Precioso Cantillas,” started on May 3 when the school demolished the high school open stage and announced the plan to increase tuition and miscellaneous fees by 50 percent.

Roma Demeterio, a parent-teacher association (PTA) member, said the adjustment would mean that she would be paying P24,000 in tuition for her four children instead of P16,000.

So far, the petition has gathered 209 signatures of mostly parents and members of the alumni association.

According to the petition, SJC imposed the increase in tuition without proper consultation as required by law.

The bishop confronted a parent who wrote a letter to the PTA regarding the tuition increase during a meeting, the petition said.

During the same meeting, the bishop said in jest that he would convert the school to formation centers or commercial establishments in the event of a decrease in enrollment.

“This is a glaring display of arrogance and insensitivity to the plight of the teachers and the students,” the petition said.

The Catholic-run college is the biggest in the entire Maasin Diocese, which include five municipalities in Leyte and 19 towns in Southern Leyte.

Calls made to Cantillas remained unanswered.

The Inquirer also called Fr. Oscar Cadayona, SJC vice president for academics and executive pastor of Maasin City Cathedral, on Friday but his secretary said he was not available since he was busy.

On Saturday, the Inquirer went to the convent to see Cadayona but was told to wait since he was eating. After more than an hour, he told the Inquirer that he was not available for an interview because he had matters to attend to.

According to the petition,  SJC has not been committed to its vision “to build a Christian community through quality integral education and form authentic Christians who live their faith through humble service and simplicity of life.”

The school, it added, constructed buildings that house commercial establishments such as banks, government offices, a pawnshop, snack bars and mini stores.

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