UP Manila declares Monday a day of mourning
MANILA – "I'm sorry, but I have to do this."
"Pray for me."
These are the words from the suicide letter of UP Manila student Kristel Tejada.
The 16-year-old freshman was forced to take a leave of absence over unpaid tuition.
She took her own life Friday by drinking a silver cleaning solution.
“Umiiyak siya tapos niyakap ako. Sabi niya, ‘Ang sakit-sakit pala kapag isu-surrender mo ‘yung ID mo,’” said Tejada’s sister.
Tejada's father Christopher, a taxi driver, had appealed to the Office of the Vice Chancellor to extend the payment period for her tuition loan.
“Nabigla ako kasi sabi, ‘Your daughter has to file an LOA.’ Sabi ko ilang buwan nalang para matapos ‘yung second sem,” he said.
Before the tragedy, the state university had lined up reforms, including a socialized tuition and assistance program and the scrapping of the “no late payment” policy.
A little too late for Tejada.
“Last Thursday, the president called for a meeting for all the chancellors and mandated that no student will be deprived of education if the reason is about tuition,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, UP Manila’s director for information and public affairs.
Militant groups and student activists are angry over Tejada’s death, blaming her suicide on rising tuition and the lack of budget for state universities and colleges.
They've set a protest action on Monday. -- ANC