'Students can’t afford reimposition of CSU tuition fees'

MANILA, Philippines – Should Cagayan State University (CSU) reimpose tuition fees?

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) said it should not, especially  after CSU student Rosanna Sanfuego committed suicide for allegedly failing to take her midterm examinations due to financial problems. 

"Clearly, Rosanna’s untimely death is a clear and strong signal that CSU students, like any other student of state universities and colleges, cannot take any reimposition of tuition and any increase in other school fees," NUSP said in a statement Wednesday, March 4.

According to police, 16-year-old Sanfuego hanged herself at home in Abulug town in Cagayan. Hours before her body was found on February 25, she texted her brother about her problems – she was not able to take her exams, forcing her to quit school.

Dr Litamin Gonzales, who conducted the medico-legal examination, said depression may have been the probable cause of suicide. (READ: CSU freshman with school fee problems commits suicide)

A technical committee is studying the bid to reimpose tuition fees in CSU and will submit its recommendations to university president Romeo Quilang following due process. CSU has been observing a "no tuition fee policy" since 2009. 

But as it is, most CSU students cannot afford the cost of other school fees – ranging from P2,000 ($45.37)* to P4,000 ($90.74) – based on interviews conducted during NUSP and Kabataan Partylist’s student convocations in different CSU campuses.

"Remote campuses of CSU also showcased how the inadequate government subsidy has resulted in the increase and imposition of other school fees, poor facilities, less plantilla positions for faculty and staff, and higher student drop out rates," NUSP national president Sarah Elago said.

Public education, she said, has been commercialized under the Aquino administration: tuition and other school fees have increased, and "exorbitant and dubious fees" have been imposed.

Walkout against tuition fee increases

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Cagayan Valley called Rosanna the "Kristel Tejada of Cagayan."

Tejada, then a freshman of the University of the Philippines, took her life in 2013. What "pulled the trigger," her family said, was her failure to pay tuition which caused her to stop schooling. (READ: Remembering Kristel)

NUSP will stage a National Day of Walkout against tuition and other school fees increases on March 13 – almost two years since Tejada’s death.

"We hold the Aquino administration accountable for stripping the likes of Rosanna Sanfuego, Kristel Tejada and other students of the right to free and quality education. We do not only grieve for Rosanna. We seek justice for Rosanna, Kristel and the Filipino youth," said NUSP Cagayan Valley Vice Chairperson Femie Galapon. – Rappler.com

US$1 = P44.08

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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