The National Anti-Poverty Commission Youth and Students’ Sector (NAPC-YSS) mourns the death of a University of the Philippines-Manila (UP-Manila) student allegedly due to deeply-rooted family and financial problems which forced her to take a leave of absence from UP-Manila. Kristel, a 16 year-old Behavioral Studies student, committed suicide and was found dead early morning of March 15.
NAPC-YSS calls on the Philippine government to re-assess its education programs towards making the system more accessible to the youth. As duty-bearers, the government and its agencies must make education responsive to the needs and situation of young people, especially those coming from the poorest of the poor.
NAPC-YSS likewise calls on our fellow young people to remember that education is one of our most fundamental rights. To fight for this right is to fulfill the promises of democracy.
Education has always been pegged as one of the instruments out of poverty. But in the current juncture, accessible and quality education has been reserved for the elite of the country. NAPC-YSS calls on the premier university to lead the way for all other higher education institutions in the abolition of all policies that are repressive to indigent students. The UP system must bring to an end tools and programs that make it prone to commodification.
Lastly, we call on our fellow Filipinos to take into their memory the death of Kristel, to anger ourselves and fuel our fight against the ugliness of elitist education and poverty.
GIBBY B. GORRES, 0906-424-6962
Youth and Students Sectoral Representative
National Anti-Poverty Commission