Independent Senate bets bare stand on UP's STFAP

  • 70 years on, survivors keep memory of Battle of Manila alive

    70 years on, survivors keep memory of Battle of Manila alive

    Associated Press
    70 years on, survivors keep memory of Battle of Manila alive

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Seventy years have not dulled the memories of survivors of the monthlong Battle of Manila. The mass killings by Japanese forces, the loved ones lost and the desperation are etched in their minds, as is the elation when American forces finally rescued them in the closing months of World War II. …

  • Toll in Philippine clashes with Islamists rises to 26

    Toll in Philippine clashes with Islamists rises to 26

    AFP News
    Toll in Philippine clashes with Islamists rises to 26

    A military assault on Islamic militants in the southern Philippines entered its fifth day on Saturday, with the toll rising to 24 guerrillas and two soldiers dead, officials said. Ten Abu Sayyaf militants were killed in a two-hour clash on Friday after the army pounded their jungle lair on Jolo island with artillery and helicopter gunships, said Colonel Alan Arrojado, who is leading the assault. Battles were raging in the mountainous and thickly forested villages of Patikul town, an area …

  • France's Hollande visits typhoon-hit Philippine town

    France's Hollande visits typhoon-hit Philippine town

    AFP News
    France's Hollande visits typhoon-hit Philippine town

    French President Francois Hollande met survivors of one of the world's strongest typhoons in a remote Philippine coastal town on Friday, seeking to sound a global alarm on climate change ahead of a crucial UN summit. Hollande is on a two-day trip to the Southeast Asian archipelago, regarded as a frontline state in the struggle against global warming, as part of his campaign to build diplomatic momentum ahead of the Paris summit in December. The French president is determined to broker an …

  • Homeland Security funding deal elusive

    Homeland Security funding deal elusive

    Associated Press
    Homeland Security funding deal elusive

    With a partial shutdown of the Homeland Security Department possible at week's end, Speaker John Boehner says the House wants to enter talks with the Senate on a final bill funding the agency. Senate Democrats ... …

  • 'Jihadi John' was hardworking student, says former principal

    'Jihadi John' was hardworking student, says former principal

    Associated Press
    'Jihadi John' was hardworking student, says former principal

    LONDON (AP) — The man who became the Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" was a relatively hardworking student who showed no signs of being radicalized, his former school principal said Monday. …

The debate on state support for education continues as Senate aspirants on Thursday joined students' calls for the repeal of a state university's socialized tuition program.

Independent senatorial candidates vowed before University of the Philippines students that they will push for the scrapping of the school's Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP).

This, as they noted that the program, which has recently come under fire following a student's suicide, failed in its intention to ease poor enrollees' financial burdens.

"I will continue to fight for free education in UP para tayo'y maging 'tunay na iskolar' (so we will be genuine scholars)," former BUHAY Party-list Rep. Christian Seneres said.

Seneres, who is running for senator under the Democratic Party of the Philippines, claimed he is among the legislators who prepared the UP Charter enacted in 2008.

"But it seems that the STFAP is not serving its purpose," Seneres said. "If so, we should just scrap it in its entirety."

Other candidates in the UP Diliman leg of Yahoo! Philippines' Purple Thumb Election Forum raised thumbs-up signs when asked if they think STFAP should be scrapped.

Social Justice Society President Samson Alcantara, for his part, said he will file measures to pour in more funds to the education sector should he win.

"I will file a bill which will allot funds from Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.) and PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) to education," Alcantara said.

Seneres added that the education sector's share in the Philippines' gross national product (GNP) fails to meet international standards. "It should be six percent of the GNP but we are way below that," Seneres said.

Data show that government spending on education stood at an average P185 billion or 2.2 percent of the GNP from 2006 to 2010.

Student groups have earlier urged UP to junk the STFAP and to demand greater state support.

The calls have recently gained traction as the STFAP failure has widely been blamed by militants for worsening the financial constraints faced by a student who took her own life Mar. 15.

While senatorial aspirants voiced their opposition for the STFAP in UP's Diliman campus, students in UP Manila mourned the death of 16-year-old Kristel Tejada.

The freshman behavioral science student's remains have been brought to the state university's Manila campus for public viewing Thursday.

The UP administration on Tuesday, meanwhile, lifted its "no late payment policy" which groups said had forced Tejada into filing a leave of absence Mar. 13.

But student leaders insisted that the action should be followed by broader reforms, particularly the STFAP repeal and a tuition rollback.

"If a complete rollback is not possible, perhaps they can come up with a tuition rate that is equitable," UP Manila Student Councilor Adrian Sampang had said.

UP President Alfredo Pascual on Monday noted that the STFAP is up for revision by the UP Board of Regents.

A streamlined application process as well as increased stipends for STFAP grantees, he said, may be rolled out by next school year.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.