UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) senatorial bet San Juan City Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada called for the abolition of the University of the Philippines’ Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) due to its failure to deliver aid poor students as shown by a recent case.

Ejercito Estrada made the statement following the death of UP Manila freshman student Kristel Tejada who is believed to have committed suicide after she was forced to file for a leave of absence and put her studies on hold for not being able to pay her tuition on time. Tejada was given an STFAP bracket assignment of “D” which meant that she had to pay P7,500 in tuition for a semester.

Prior to her death, Tejada’s parents had appealed to UP Manila officials to amend her bracket assignment to “E” which would enable her to get free tuition and stipend. They made the appeal as the student’s father who’s a taxi driver was the sole breadwinner of the family.

The San Juan solon said the case of Kristel only highlighted the ineffectiveness of the STFAP to provide assistance to poor but deserving students of UP.

“It is high time for STFAP to be abolished,” said Ejercito Estrada. “We need a program that will ensure that poor students who have been able to enter UP to gain quality education be able to complete their studies.”

The death of Tejada, he said, should also serve as a wake-up call for the government and move the Aquino administration to roll out a comprehensive financial assistance program for students from poor families all over the country.

“The government should come up with national scholarship programs that would give poor students a chance to pursue their college education,” said Ejercito Estrada.

As a first step, he said the Aquino government should increase the budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) to P45 billion next year.

“The government had already set aside a big budget for Reproductive Health law and the Conditional Cash Transfer Program. It must now increase its investments in education so that poor students like Tejada may be able to fulfill their dreams,” said Ejercito Estrada.



Press Release

March 18, 2013