UP Manila students slam ‘no late payment’ policy

STUDENTS led by the UP Manila KILOS NA assembled in the College of Arts and Sciences lobby to call for the junking of the ‘no late payment’ and ‘forced LOA’ policies in UP Manila, describing it as “anti-student” and “a brutal attack against our right to education”.

Protesters went around the campus and posted “NO MONEY, NO ENTRY” in UP Manila classrooms, gate, and even at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

“This is the message that they implicitly sent us when a ‘no late payment’ scheme was implemented in UP Manila,” Sly Serrano, convenor of UPM KILOS NA, explained. “Same goes when President Aquino bared its plan to privatize 29 public hospitals,” he added.

In a memorandum issued by the UPM Office of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, professors were ordered to bar students from attending classes upon failure to pay school fees by November 23. Since last semester, the said state-run educational institution for health and sciences has also threatened unpaid students of forcible leave-of-absence (LOA).

“These policies are unacceptable for a supposed state-run university! It has become more evident that UP is no longer a university of the people, it’s clearly for the privileged who can pay,” said MarizZubiri, Chairperson of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council.

Last semester, students of UP also protested the 50% increase in tuition ushered in by the changes in Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP). Laboratory fee increases in some UP units have also been approved, while new ones will be instituted for Physical Education (PE) classes. Meanwhile, UP now charges class D patients who previously enjoyed free medical services.

“This is what became of our University due to PNoy’seducation policies.” GianSiapo, Chairperson of Anakbayan-UP Manila said.“President Aquino is double-faced. He promises increased budget, improved education and health services for the people while relentlessly pushing for fee increases in SUCs and privatization of public hospitals,” he added.

“President Aquino even wants deceptive policies that have long disenfranchised the youth of accessible UP education such as the STFAP to be implemented in a nationwide scale,” Viki Nano, spokesperson of the student alliance ASAP-KATIPUNAN seconded.

President Aquino said in his previous State of the Nation speeches that SUCs must be self-reliant through student fees and other income generating schemes, they must also adopt a socialized tuition scheme similar to STFAP in UP.

“The ‘no late payment’ and ‘forced LOA’ policies came about because the national government expects UP to pump-in huge amount of income from school fees and commercialization schemes. These are violations of our rights, set on the day which many Filipinos remember for its impunity, the November 23 Maguindanao Massacre;” Zubiri concluded.

After the protest at UP Manila, the students joined other universities in a mobilization in Mendiola to bring their calls to defend the people’s right to education, social services, and civil liberties as they also commemorated the 3rd anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre.

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