School fees not reason for suicide in Cagayan
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—The freshman college student who committed suicide in Cagayan last week would have been allowed to take her examinations in a state university, contrary to speculations that her financial problem at school had prompted her to take her own life, officials said on Thursday.
Cagayan State University (CSU) President Romeo Quilang said the 17-year-old student had paid part of her tuition for the semester upon enrollment, citing accounting records.
“Our own investigation revealed that [the student] could have taken the exam if she wished to. It is not true that she took her own life because she failed to take the exam when she failed to pay her tuition,” Quilang told the Inquirer by telephone on Thursday.
As a policy, the university does not bar students from taking examinations when they fail to pay school fees, Quilang said. He said midterm examinations at CSU’s Andrews campus in Tuguegarao City were set for Feb. 26 and 27.
He said school records showed the student had paid P1,000 of her P3,845 total tuition for the second semester. CSU students are charged P100 per unit, excluding miscellaneous and other fees.
Police earlier reported that the victim was found dead on Feb. 25 in her family’s house in Santa Filomena village in Abulug town, more than two hours after she arrived from Tuguegarao City, where she was studying.
Reached by the Inquirer by telephone on Thursday, the student’s mother said her daughter had told her, immediately after arriving home that day, that she was quitting school because she did not have money to finish the semester.
But the mother refused to take further calls for details.
Quilang, however, bewailed accusations that the university was to blame for the student’s death.
“We have learned from her classmates and close friends that she had been suffering from depression because of personal problems, but not because the university had prevented her from taking her exams,” he said.
On Thursday, militant student groups held separate mass actions in three universities in Metro Manila to protest the government’s supposed failure to stop fee increases in state-run schools.
Militant student organizations had issued statements pinning the blame for the student’s suicide on the Aquino administration’s refusal to take control of tuition and other fees in schools.
They had tried to link the Cagayan student’s suicide with that of a University of the Philippines student who also took her own life after failing to pay her school fees. Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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