It’s not suicide but murder
Anakbayan extends its deepest sympathies to the family, friends and classmates of the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila student who committed suicide last March 16 due to tuition payment difficulties.
We are more than grief-stricken, we are enraged. This was a death that could have been avoided.
Initial reports indicate that the student, a first-year behavioral science major, killed herself after being forced to take a leave of absence (LOA) for the second semester in line with the Forced Leave of Absence (FLOA) policy of UP Manila. Under the policy, students are made to take an LOA if they are unable to pay the full amount of the tuition during the enrollment period. The student’s father is a part-time taxi driver, while her mother is a simple housewife.
To paraphrase a quote from a famous movie: This is not suicide, this is murder. The Aquino administration is as responsible for the death of the UP Manila student as if it was the one who forced the poison down her throat.
The lack of programs by the Aquino administration to generate enough decent jobs in the country, coupled by its refusal to control the skyrocketing prices of basic goods and services, has made it virtually impossible for millions of Filipino parents to send their children to school. President Aquino’s declared policy allowing state universities and colleges (SUCs) to hike their tuition rates, and bludgeoning students into either paying the fees or dropping out (as in the case of UP Manila’s FLOA) was the last straw for this UP student.
We in Anakbayan vow to give justice to the UP Manila student and the millions of other Filipino youth who continue to be victimized by the unjust social system and the callous and insensitive Aquino administration.
We call on all our chapters in all UP campuses to take the lead in holding massive protest actions until the infamous FLOA and Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) policies are scrapped, and the UP tuition is rolled back.
We also call on all our chapters in all other SUCs to prepare for similar actions to prevent the implementation of socialized tuition schemes in their own schools. We have received reports that such a system was approved last week by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines’ board of regents.
While none of our actions will bring her back, we vow that no other student will take his or her life because the state made it impossible for him/her to have a better future.
Justice for all victims of President Aquino’s education policies!
Scrap STFAP! Roll back the tuition!
Defend our right to education!
—VENCER CRISOSTOMO, national chair, Anakbayan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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