Monday, January 22, 2007


(Statement of Roland G. Simbulan, Professor and Faculty Regent, University of the Philippines System)
January 19, 2006

I have asked the U.P. Board of Regents and the U.P. administration to conduct further study and review of the STFAP report chaired by Prof. Atanacio (otherwise known as the Atanacio report), and if need be, to defer the implementation of the proposed 300% tuition fee increase that was approved by the Board of Regents last December 15, 2006.

The STFAP rebracketing has implications on the future of U.P. education as it will certainly determine if U.P. will still continue to be accessible to low income but bright Filipino students. For the fundamental purpose of U.P. education is to provide excellent but accessible education to children of ordinary Filipino families. The Atanacio report, released only through the U.P. website last December 8, 2006, is crucial because it is the heart of the rationale for the proposed 300% increase in tuition fees, and this report is also the implementing guideline for the increases. There has not been much time to discuss and peer-review this report for modifications of its grave statistical errors and miscalculations. This erroneous report was the main basis of the BOR's decision to increase tuition by 300%, which will spell the intensification if not maximization of revenue generation by U.P. thru tuition fee collections, not social justice and access to poor but deserving students.

The administration seems to be closed to a full blown dialogue with students on this issue, and it is only open to informing the students. This is not how we conduct ourselves in the academic community, much more in U.P. . Debates and intellectual ferment are the lifeblood of this University.

I am very sad and outraged that the U.P. Board of Regents last Dec. 15, 2006 also approved a prospective proposal by the U.P. administration to automatically adjust annually tuition fees " based on the national inflation rate." This is too much, because the benefits under STFAP are not also going to be adjusted annually; further, wages and salaries of the students' parents are not also beig adjusted based on the national inflation rate. Added to this is the implementation in U.P. Diliman of an admissions policy that more favors students coming from private high schools, or their ability to cough out the additional "adjustments" in tuition fees.

These increases could change the character and soul of U.P. as a state university. It is not far-fetched that if we allow these series of increases to go on with the 300% increase as precedent, U.P . would soon be like any private university depending for its finances and operational expenses on tuition collected from students while supporting a few scholars as in Ateneo and De La Salle. Meanwhile, admission would be based on ability to pay.

Students, faculty and non-academic personnel of U.P. should forge a formidable front to prevent the further commercialization and eventual privatization of U.P.. Together, they will define the direction of our University.

As the Centennial of U.P. nears, the struggle for its meaning intensifies. It is a struggle for the University's heart and soul.