Parent belies DepEd, says child’s suicide due to enrollment issues – group
MANILA, Philippines — A parent has claimed that enrollment difficulties coupled with the financial burden of education amid the pandemic had pushed her son to take his own life – contradicting assertions from the Department of Education (DepEd).
Videos released by the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (Spark) showed an interview with the mother of a 19-year-old Grade 9 student from Albay who committed suicide last June 16.
And while DepEd had pleaded to the public to stop connecting suicide incidents to problems in distance and blended learning, the mother has been unyielding adamant that it was issues related to school enrollment that worsened her son’s condition.
“Hindi pa talaga (ako) nakakapag-move on,” she said, as translated by Spark in a video footage sent to reporters on Monday. “Sabi ko nga ang pinaka-dahilan no’n, nung huli na nagka-usap kami, kasi hinihikayat ko nga po siya na mag pa-enroll.”
(I have not really moved on yet. As I said, the ultimate reason for that incident, was that during our last conversation, I was encouraging him to enroll.)
“Tapos sabi ko pwede ka na magpa-enroll ngayon, pwede ka na magpa-enroll online kasi dahil nga sa pandemic. Ang sagot niya sa akin, ‘Hindi na muna ako, Mama, mag-aaral ngayon kasi ano naman matutunan ko sa online class na ‘yan?’,” she added.
(Then I told him that he can already enroll now, he can enroll online because of the pandemic. His reply to me was, ‘I will not enroll, for now, Mama, because what will I learn from that online class?’)
She further said that her son told her that it is not true that online classes would be more cost-efficient as they would not need extra money to commute and spend on food allowances –because the student estimated that he may need around P100 per day to sustain his attendance to online classes.
“[Sabi niya] na noong dati nga nagpo-provide ka sa amin ng pamasahe, nakakatipid pa kesa sa online class. Ngayon daw kung wala kang 100 pesos, hindi ka makakapag-online class kasi minsan paano kung wala kang internet, wala kang pangload, paano ka makakapag-online class?” she relayed.
(He said that it was cheaper before when I was providing them fare to go to school than the online class. He said that now if you do not have P100, you can’t do the online class because sometimes if you have no internet, you don’t have money to buy load, how can you do the online class?)
“Ganun ‘yong desisyon niya talaga magta-trabaho muna. Tapos sabi ko naman magpatuloy ka mag-aral kasi nasa likod mo lang ako […] Pagkalipas nung araw na nag-usap kami na pinu-push ko na siya mag-enroll, tapos ‘pag dating ng 16, dun na namin natuklasan na ganun na,” she added.
(That was really his decision, to work first. But then I told him to pursue his studies because I would support him. Then days after we talked, when I was pushing him to enroll, then on the 16th, that’s when we found out about what happened.)
According to Spark spokesperson John Lazaro, they will stop bothering DepEd about the deaths of students if the agency proves, through its investigation, that the suicide incidents were not connected to distance learning. He said DepEd should make sure the findings of their investigation will be made public.
DepEd said last October 20 that people should stop recklessly linking alleged suicides of teachers and students to distance and blended learning, especially since it is a sensitive topic that should be discussed properly.
But youth groups, including Spark, have insisted that DepEd was merely trying to evade responsibility for the documented deaths.
This is not the first time that students slammed DepEd over suicide incidents allegedly connected to the conduct of online classes. Last October 9, students asked DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones whether reports of students committing suicide is “victory” — in reference to her earlier remark that the reopening of classes means victory against the COVID-19 pandemic
As the pandemic prevented mass gatherings, the government opted to implement online classes and modular learnings for those without access to the internet. But many students lamented the lack of appropriate gadgets and internet connections to cope with prevailing school requirements.
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