Overkill

Fourteen years ago, I started college as a freshman of this school. My first tuition fee was PHP 387, I think for the whole sem.

While I was lucky to have parents who can afford to pay the PHP300-PHP500 (roughly 8-9 dollars) per semester, yes that’s PER SEMESTER and not PER UNIT tuition fee, there were others who couldn’t.

One of the earliest realizations I had back in University was that not all people are created equal–physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially….So while me and my friends from Communications class was amazed on how small our tuition fee is (equivalent of one blouse!), there were kids lining up the cashier’s office come examinations time to ask for additional time, pay the second half of their tuition by installment or even plead with the cashier to let them take the exam.

That made me appreciate my University and the education it provides to thousands of young Filipinos for a fraction, no…an iota…of the tuition usually present in other Manila universities.

I graduated college and maybe invested about PHP5,000 (about 100USD) for four years of University (not including expenses for projects, thesis, etc). But you get the point—what was usually the cost of one pair of the latest cool sneaks from Adidas was the total cost of my education.

That’s why I was sad when I saw this video:

Yeah, I maybe a part of the bourgeois, of the emerging middle class, but–I am also convinced that by resorting to violence, the issue of tuition fee increase will not be solved. By burning and trashing the (few remaining good) chairs, we show that we are educated and concerned for the welfare of the students. By destroying the limited furniture that we have in PUP, you added to the burgeoning cost of maintaining the school.

The school doesn’t exactly have the best in facilities: the restrooms were to die for (you’d literally die due to the dirt and smell), and most of the time–we were missing chairs and about half the blackboard was missing, the rooms were hot and muggy cos there wasn’t proper ventilation.

But no one can deny that the education I got from this school was one of the best. My college years was the best days of my life. Studying in PUP was one of the best decisions I’ve made (I passed on other credible and prestigious universities but chose PUP)– this school gave me the smarts I have now, the technical stuff I know about media and writing, and most especially, this school gave me the people who I will be friends for for life)

I wish the students didn’t act like that. They shouldn’t have to resort to violence to prove a point.

(Kudos to my former thesis adviser, Ms. Divina Pasumbal for the wit, grace and candor she displayed on all her media interviews)

Last time I checked, the students were already pardoned by the school and the charges pressed against them were already dropped.

To fight for one’s right to education is expected–even a responsibility. But hooliganism and violence was never appealing. Nor is it effective.

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