It made my blood boil

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By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas

“While there should be incentives for students who could maintain themselves in UP, that should not cover the children of those in the “rich” bracket. There is a lot of them there.”

As I wrote in our UP Los Banos alumni Messenger page, the bumper to bumper traffic made that campus and the whole town stand still. It was last September 4, the day before the first day of classes.
Flashy cars were everywhere and the road system got choked. It could not accommodate the sudden surge of cars. Gridlock traffic were kilometers and kilometers, all the way to the highway that goes to Calamba and then to Metro Manila.
Those cars came from everywhere. Parents were bringing their kids to the campus and adjacent areas where their dorms are. They would be attending classes or orientations the next day.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing. What is wrong is UPLB is a state university. One of the best in the country and in the whole wide world.
Sour grapes? Nope. My kid is there. What is making my blood boil is because tuition fees there are zero, even for kids of multi-millionaires and billionaires.
As things are, it is the government shouldering the costs to keep the university going. That is your money, our money.
So why should we be paying for the education of those who can afford several cars worth millions?
Passing that law, providing free education for every one through the state universities and colleges (SUCs) was stupid.
The socialized tuition fee system of UP was better. If you had a big income, your kid in UP was made to pay high tuition fee rates and other fees. If you were poor and could not pay, your kid in UP was given a scholarship including free tuition, and allowances for books and board and lodging. So many Filipinos needed and still need that kind of financial assistance.
To make my point clear let us take the case of SUCs in the provinces of the Cordillera. Would you feel comfortable seeing children of millionaires or even billionaires studying there for free? That would mean we, the common people, are paying for their education.
So why is nobody raising a howl against the law indiscriminately providing free education to every one through SUCs? Where are our congressmen and senators? Where are the alumni/alumnae of SUCs who are well off? It is usually these people who can readily have their voices be heard by those who should be acting on our gripes and woes.
While there should be incentives for students who could maintain themselves in UP, that should not cover the children of those in the “rich” bracket. There is a lot of them there.
It was found out many years ago that majority of those who pass UP’s admission exams or requirements come from such bracket and from the middle class who had good elementary and secondary education. Let the middle class enjoy free tuition but not the rich and famous.
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