About 200 displaced UP Tacloban students find temporary ‘home’ in UP Cebu | Inquirer News

About 200 displaced UP Tacloban students find temporary ‘home’ in UP Cebu

/ 07:02 AM December 07, 2013

Only the iconic Oblation statue remains standing amid the storm debris at the University of the Philippines (UP) Tacloban campus yet a number of its students are already back in school. Only this time, in the state university’s campus in Cebu.

As shown in photos posted in the UP Visayas Facebook page, the roof of the buildings in the Tacloban campus were blown away by the storm’s gusts while its windows were shattered. The campus is filled with debris and several uprooted trees.

However, the university’s symbol – the Oblation, was able to withstand the strong winds brought by Yolanda.


About 200 students from the typhoon-devastated campus have moved to UP Cebu to continue their education.


Here, they are given free lunch while a pre-fabricated dormitory is being constructed in the campus to accommodate them, said UP Cebu Dean Liza Corro.

She said they also extended the enrollment period for the second semester up to the end of November to accommodate all displaced students who were coming in. UP president Alfredo Pascual earlier ordered all of the state university’s campuses to open their doors to UP Tacloban students and extend all the help to enable them to resume their studies.

“We already anticipated that most of the students there were not informed about the announcement of the UP president because communication lines were down,” she told Cebu Daily News.

“Our professors are taking the extra load with the increase in the number of students per class, but it doesn’t matter. This is also our sacrifice for the students,” Corro added.

The students are enrolled in subjects in line with their degree programs in UP Tacloban. Most transferrees are taking up courses in Business Administration and Management, Psychology and Political Science, she said.

A week after the storm, Pascual issued an urgent request to UP constituent universities to allow students from UP Tacloban to cross-enroll for the second semester.


Pascual last week asked the heads of the other UP campuses to temporarily waive the requirements for cross-registration of students from UP Tacloban “in light of the “emergency situation” caused by supertyphoon Yolanda.

Some of the students from Tacloban will not be paying a single centavo since they were accepted under the E2 bracket of the university’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP).

Students in the E2 bracket belong to families with an income of P80,000 or less and enjoy free tuition, miscellaneous, and laboratory fees plus a standard stipend.

During the enrollment, the transferees underwent the normal screening and applications for the STFAP, she said.

Corro said students who come from Tacloban City or in the neighboring towns and cities in Leyte will be classified under the E2 bracket especially if they were directly affected by Yolanda.

“The interviews and deliberation was still implemented to screen the ones worthy of the E2 bracket. Some might be from UP Tacloban but their families are abroad or in other places not affected by the storm,” she said.

“But for those who reasoned out that they lost all their belongings and houses, even family members, we put under E2. Even if they do not have proof, we believe them,” Corro said.

UP employs an economic bracketing scheme for its students through the STFAP wherein tuition fees of each student vary according to their economic status.

A corresponding tuition fee bracket is assigned to a student based on the range of his or her parents’ or guardians’ annual income and assets.

Free food, shelter

At noon, the college’s canteen gets filled by the cross-enrollees who are provided free meals by the school administration.

Corro said they give out a stub equivalent to one meal just to ensure that the students have eaten during the day.

“One time I had lunch with all of them and I really got to ask them about what they need. They told me all they need is food that’s why we’re giving them free lunch until January,” she said.

As much as the college wants to provide three meals a day to the students, Corro said they are limited by their available funds.

“Some said we should give them three meals but considering that UP Cebu is a small branch of the system, every cent counts,” she said.

A pre-fabricated dormitory made out of concrete and galvanized iron sheets is nearing completion beside the college’s dormitory at the back of the campus where the students will be housed, she said.

The temporary shelter provided for free by local construction firm, Greenovate Inc. can accommodate around 90 people, she said.

She said a UP alumnus who now resides in Australia has also pledged to sponsor double decker beds made of bamboo while Mandaue Foam will provide the mattresses.

Corro said students are renting out rooms in boarding houses some as far as barangay Talamban in Cebu City.

“The students told me that they sleep in the floor in some boarding houses because it’s really full as of now,” she said.

According to earlier reports, classes in the two UP campuses in Leyte–UPVTC and the UP Manila School of Heath Sciences in Palo were canceled after several school buildings and facilities were destroyed by the typhoon.


Despite the sudden change of environment, Corro said the administration wants the “new students” to feel at home.

The student council will hold a welcoming program for the cross-enrollees on December 13 as part of UP Cebu’s weeklong activities dubbed “Pasko sa UP”, she said.

Mary Christlyn Pielago, a graduating Management student, said the increase of students is a welcome sight.

“A lot of students now hang out in the tambayans. UP Cebu even seems livelier as of late,” she said.

Meanwhile, Corro also urged private groups to support in whatever form they can for the cross-enrollees.

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“I believe that those from UP Cebu are all understanding while those from UP Tacloban are very appreciative of the help,” she said.

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