Kristel’s death is a wake-up call

Vigil for Kristel. Thanks to Philippine Star for photo.

Vigil for Kristel. Thanks to Philippine Star for photo.

Even as there are some people who want to fan the outrage over the death of 16-year old Kristel Tejada, a freshman student at The University of the Philippines, Manila, the UP leadership promises to “take the necessary steps to address the policy and administrative issues that are related to this unfortunate tragedy. “

Tejada was found dead in her residence in Sampaloc after taking cyanide nitrate.

The mother said her daughter was depressed because she could not continue her studies at UP where she was taking up Behavioral Science for their failure to pay the needed tuition fee.

The daughter of a taxi driver, Kristel has four other siblings.

In a statement, UP President Alfredo Pascual said, “It is unfortunate that this tragedy happened a day after I instructed the Chancellors of all UP units at our council meeting held last Thursday that we should not deny access to qualified students who cannot enroll because of financial constraints.”

Pascual said he has been pushing for reforms in the UP system to simplify the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) application process and increase the financial aid for poor students are already planned for Board of Regents action next month.

“But, “ he said “it takes time to implement change. We can easily be overtaken, as we have been, by a sudden turn of events. But I am confident we can turn the tragedy into a greater resolve to act and make UP accessible to the poor.”

The Chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education Patricia B. Licuanan sympathized with the Tejada family for “losing someone so young and promising.”

“But,” she said, “ I believe that suicide is always complex and must be approached with great sensitivity. Simplistic speculation on cause does not help anyone. And using Kristel’s apparent suicide to serve a political platform, no matter how valid is unconscionable.”

Amidst the intense emotions generated by Kristel’s death, many share Licuanan’s view of the risk of “simplistic speculation.”

There are many other young people like Kristel, who want to study but are hindered by lack of money. A deplorable situation.

It can also be said that there are others who are in a far worse situation, something more deplorable.

But the point is, committing suicide is a complex problem and it’s sound call not to simplify the cause of Kristel’s death.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental group, has a special take on Kristel’s death.

Manny Calonzo of the EcoWaste Coalition reminded Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona and Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje that the chemical that caused Kristel’s death – cyanide and its compounds- are among the 48 substances in the Philippine Priority Chemicals List, that are highly toxic to people and marine life even at low concentrations and included in the Joint DOH-DENR Advisory, Series of 2010-0001.

The group said the advisory further bans the importation, manufacturing, distribution and sale of silver cleaners without product registration and labeling.
Yet, Calonzo said, the cyanide-laced silver cleaning agents are sold from as low as P10 to P150 in sidewalks and silver stores in shopping malls.
The EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the authorities to conduct a random inspection of silver jewelry shops in major commercial hubs and shopping malls and decisively apprehend and charge violators of the ban. “Government regulators should reach out to the management of shopping malls and entice them to help in policing silver jewelry shops doing business in their premises,” the group said.
The group warned that exposure to cyanide through eye or skin contact, inhalation and ingestion can cause irritation, rash, bluish skin color, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, nausea, headache, blindness, suffocation, lung congestion, convulsions, paralysis, coma and death, as what happened to Kristel.
Calonzo said, Kristel’s death is a “wake-up call” for DOH and DENR to effectively implement the regulation.
The wake-up call should be sounded out to everybody including politicians who divert money needed for education to their pockets.

March 18, 2013 12:16 am  Tags:   Posted in: Education, Malaya

405 Responses

  1. tomtorres - March 18, 2013 1:58 pm

    Student loans should be made accessible to poor students; they can pay up once they get employed. SSS and GSIS should back up these loans.

  2. vic - March 18, 2013 3:44 pm

    Actually, just found out that the Ontario Student Assistance Program, which extend “loans” to student duration of their studies for School fees, Board and Lodging and Transportation is granted by the all Participating Chartered Banks (and all must Participate), Interest of which is Paid by Education Ministry (each Province has its own plan, while the territories is under the Federal plan) with the formulated sharing by the Federal Government…The Loan is transferred to the Student’s Account upon completion of the Program and obtaining gainful employment whichever comes first…giving the Student the window of 10 years to settle his account with the specific bank or Declare Bankruptcy whichever comes first…and here is the Trick…student will stay with his parents, take loans for board and lodging and transportation while getting it Free and have enough Extra money for the weekends fun…my own sis did it while staying with us for Free and was able to send a Regular allowance to her twin sister from her Student loans…and paid it on time after graduation…and the bank is not complaining nor the government as the get their payback from prosperous TAXPAYERS…the University Graduates..

  3. MPRivera - March 18, 2013 6:44 pm

    sumalangit nawa ang kaluluwa nitong si kristel.

    subalit para sa akin ay isang malaking kalokohan ang ginawa ng batang ‘yun. meron siyang mga magulang na maari niyang paghingahan ng kanyang sama ng loob bunga ng kabiguang makapag-enroll dahil hindi lang nabigyan ng panibagong student loan.

    hindi man lamang niya pinahalagahan ang pagpapakahirap ng kanyang ama at ina upang silang magkakapatid ay mabuha nang maayos.

    okey, sa semestreng darating ay hindi siya makakapag-enroll. bakit, KATAPUSAN na ba ng kanyang mundo sakaling mahinto ssiya ng isa o dalawang semestre?

    ang alam ko sa nag-aaral ay MAS lalong lumalawak ang pang-unawa at nagkakaroon ng rason upang sumalunga sa anumang unos ng buhay at hindi basta nagpapatalo sa isang napakasimpleng problema.

    puwede siyang maging isang working student sa ibang unibersidad. puwede din siyang magtrabaho muna at mag-ipon upang makapag-aral.

    tsk. tsk. tsk.

  4. LCsiao - March 18, 2013 7:25 pm

    behavioral sciences pa man din ang kurso niya

  5. parasabayan - March 19, 2013 1:05 am

    I watched the UP press con. Binigyan naman nila ng palugit ang Tejada family 79 times! Inaantay lang ng administration yung submission nng mga Tejadas ng mga documents so Kristel can be re-classified as an E student and she can even be a full scholar. Sana pinagtuunan na lang ng mga Tejada ng pansin yung pagbibigay ng mga kailangang documents para ma-reclassify si Kristel.

    Too late to point fingers now. Sana naman ang pagkamatay ni Kristel ay maging batayan ng mga pagbabago sa mga pamamaraan ng pagtulong ng mga mahihirap na estudiante sa UP.

  6. vic - March 19, 2013 2:29 am

    While at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario, on 16 October 2007, Smith requested transfer to a psychiatric facility; she was placed on a formal suicide watch on 18 October. In the early hours of 19 October, Smith was videotaped placing a ligature around her neck, an act of self harm she had committed several times before. Guards did not enter her cell to intervene, and several hours passed before she was examined and pronounced dead,

    What is a wake up CALL?

    here is a case of a very troubled young girl who since 2007 made a wake up call and the Coroner’s inquest into her death is still ongoing…the Warden and the Guards been fired..the family already sued and made and out of Court Settlement with Correction Canada for her death…and a few mistrials during the Inquest now it is back and is going on Again…what is the objective of this Inquest? the answers had not been found as of yet…and the family of the Ashley Smith wanted the answer why their daughter had to die? Six years already passed, but a death of a young woman still unanswered can not be just as easily forgotten, under any circumstances

  7. alsan802 - March 19, 2013 11:50 am

    Whatever the cause/s and the circumstances behind Kristel’s suicide, no one will ever establish or confirm; only speculations will persist. One thing is sure, Kristel, a 16 year old student in UP, IS DEAD. It would be better if all the reasons being brought forward about her death be either ignored or considered valid.
    I come from a family of 7, and in 1962, faced a situation wherein the 5 (next to the 2 eldest) were going to stop schooling because of the money earned by my father was not enough.
    This thought I toss to ALL politicians and 40 elite families of the Phil. Why are majority the poor people denied access to college education when every year the budget for education is the supposed to be the biggest? Is it because that you people are afraid that if the young people in the rural areas get a college degree, you can no longer fool and exploit these people. A college education for a member of a poor family is a TICKET out of poverty and improvement of literacy of the family.

  8. LCsiao - March 19, 2013 12:12 pm

    ^ “the budget for education is the supposed to be the biggest”

    …of whatever’s left after DEBT-SERVICING.

  9. Ellen - March 19, 2013 5:18 pm

    I just got this message from Ganie Avila :

    Mam Ellen, Kuya Joe Seguerra is still alive, fighting for his life in Montreal Hospital. If you want more information about Kjoe I will ask Arnold (Another Joeseg son) to give his CP No. to you so you could text him..

  10. chi - March 19, 2013 8:19 pm

    Mags, na-shocked marahil si Noli when he gave me the message last Sunday. Let’s pray harder for joeseg’s recovery.

  11. cocoy - March 20, 2013 3:50 am

    Nanghihinayang kami sa iyo Kristel, huli na kung nag message ka lang sa amin baka nakatulong kami sa iyo,, Ito ang site ng aming grupo na handang tumulong..

  12. MPRivera - March 20, 2013 6:31 pm

    pilontroper ka talaga, pareng cocoy.

    kung meron la’ang akong pisbuk account ay sasama ako sa grupo n’yo tapos mag-a-apply ako ng singkorlasyip kahit sinyor sitisen na ako.

    eniwey, i hope marami talaga kayong matulungan hindi la’ang sa pag-aaral kundi pati na din sa pagbibigay ng pagkakakitaan sa mga walang hanapbuhay.

  13. MPRivera - March 20, 2013 7:01 pm

    chi, nagwater water ang mga eyes ko nu’ng mabasa ang email mo kaninang umaga tungkol kay joepreng.

    i know he still some missions to accomplish.

    joepreng, ala’y samantalahin mo ang lakas mo kay Bro. lumaban ka dahil may kakampi ka. madami kami dineng nagmamahal sa iyo at nananalangin sa iyong maagang paggaleng. huwag kang bibitaw, hane?

    ay, kadami katang kabulastugang gagaw’in dine sa bagong bahay ni nanay ellen, ah. katulad baga nu’ng date na ginagawa uli natin ‘yung atang mga itinuro kina dolpi at pansito na pagtatag-lish sa tula.

    aantayin ka namin dine, hane?

    pa-kiss muna. mmmmmwwwwwaaaaaahhh!

  14. vic - March 20, 2013 10:11 pm

    more on Education and on Govt. plans for the its people…perspective on this side of town…

    •Proposing to cap the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit at 3,000 kWh per month — allowing virtually all families to continue receiving the 10 per cent benefit and creating more than $500 million in savings

    •Asking about 5% of Ontario seniors with the highest incomes to pay more of their prescription drug costs •Right now, a senior with an annual income of $300,000 gets the same benefit as a senior with an income of $30,000 per year

    •There are about 1.9 million seniors living in Ontario. Under this change, about 75,000 seniors with net incomes over $100,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples will pay an average of $665 a year more towards their prescription drug costs.


    The government is continuing its plan to have the world’s best-educated workforce by:

    •Fully implementing full-day kindergarten by September 2014

    •Maintaining small class sizes

    •Continuing to provide the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant for eligible full-time

    undergraduate university and college students

    •Integrating training programs to make them more responsive to today’s job market.


    The government will build on Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care to create a sustainable and high-quality health care system by:
    •Transforming health care to reduce the rate of growth of spending to an average of 2.1 per cent annually over the next three years
    •Enhancing community-based care to treat patients in alternative settings such as non-profit clinics and at home instead of in hospitals, where appropriate
    •Moving to patient-centred funding models to improve the value and quality of care.

  15. vic - March 20, 2013 10:20 pm

    note…the Full Day Kindergarten 1 and 2 started in a selected schools Public and Catholics with a half Day Schooling and Half Day Day care to Free the Parents with expense of sending or leaving their Kinder Age Children to baby sitters or paid day care half of the day…the Day care portion of the Full Day Kinder will be conducted or Early Childhood Teachers and educators..This will also Free up parents to work…or just have fun…Class size for early grades is not more than 20 per class.

  16. chi - March 21, 2013 5:18 am

    Mags, dahil wala kang FB…emeylan kita kung may update. Dati wala na rin akong account pero sa joepreng mo nagbukas ulit ako para madali raw aming huntahan.

    Tingan mo nga naman, itong si Kristel ang bata pero gusto kaagad mamatay. Liit lang na problema pero siguro ay ang misyon ng katiting na buhay nya ay para may bumukas na mata sa UP.

  17. cocoy - March 21, 2013 8:18 am

    Pareng Mag,

    Glad to hear from you again.. Si Pareng Joeseg natin magtatagal pa ang buhay niya. Kaya babalik uli iyun next month.

    Isang taon ko pa lang nabuo ang grupo namin kaya 2 pa lang ang pa scholar namin, isa sa UE at sa RMTU, Full tuition fees at saka bayad sa rebta ng tirahan sa Manila, iyung tsibug at damit hibdi na kasali.

    May 65 families na rin kaming nabigyan ng paanimula ng kabuyahan nila, gusto ng mga ibang kasamahan ko noon abigyan na lang ng bigas, sardinas at konting pera, pero sabi ko sa kanila, good for 1 week iyung ibibigay namin kata napunta kami sa Hog Raising Project, binigyan namin sila ng biik at sakong feeds sa kundisyun na kapag manganak na ang baboy nila kuha kami ng isang biik na kapalit at iyun naman ay ibibigay namin sa susunod na mapiling indigent recipient. So far, naging successful ang pilot project namin at marami ng nanganak na baboy at marami pang manganganak. Ito ngayon ang malaking problema ng aming Pen Team kaya binilhan namin sila ng used Toyota Hi ace Van pandeliver nila..

    Napasama na rin sa aming project ang pag aayus ng mga tirahan ng mga kababayan natin kapus, pinapaayus namin ang mga asirang bahay kubo nila para hindi sila mabasa ng ulan..

    Masaya ang paliramdam ng nakakatualong sa kapwa kung sama sama ay kayang kaya..

  18. LCsiao - March 21, 2013 3:30 pm

    According to Dr. Giovanni Tapang, ‘the STFAP has always been the government’s vehicle to abandon its duty to the people to provide quality education.

    ‘Yet it is not surprising as government continues to privatize not only education but other social services as well… (leaving) us out to hang dry under the ever-increasing prices of electric power, water, hospitalizations and education. As our basic public utilities are being sold out to private companies, our people scramble left and right to scrape out a living to pay the few who profit from these sales.’

  19. MPRivera - March 21, 2013 6:34 pm

    how many filipino billionaires are included in the forbes’ elite list? how many multi millionaires do we have in the country? how many millionaires are there in the congress? in the senate?

    how many among them ARE WILLING to share a part of their wealth to poor families who cannot support the schooling of their children WITHOUT any questions asked?

    hirap kasi sa kanila, LUMALABAS lamang ang pagiging mga mapagkawanggawa kapag meron ganitong sensational na kaso.

    lapitan mo sa kanilang opisina, puntahan sa bahay o kaya’y kapag nakasalubong mo sa paglalakad (kung sanay silang makihalubilo sa karaniwang mga pobre) baka sa halip na bigyang pansin ka ay tadyak pa mula sa mga badigard ang tanggapin mo.

    ‘yung mga banal na obispo, bakit tila nakalulon sila ng super glu na para bagang nangagsipagsara ang kanilang mga bunganga subalit walang tigil sa pagngawa laban sa RH bill?

    ‘yang GSIS, SSS at Pag-IBIG, sila nagyayabang ngayon na nagbibigay sila ng educational loan?

    I agree with alasan802.

    ‘daming ipokrito sa mga maykayang pilipino lalong lalo ‘yang mga pulitiko!

  20. totokalel - March 23, 2013 10:01 pm

    I heard na kasuhan ang ilang officials ng UP Manila dahil sa nangyari.paano kung ang isang estudyante nag suicide dahil bagsak siya.dapat din ba kasuhan ang professor nya???

  21. vic - March 24, 2013 4:17 pm

    totokalel, really depends…believe me, if some good litigation lawyers believes that the schools or any of its officials were partly to blame to the student suicide they will sue..that is no longer an issue in many jurisdiction where any individual has the freedom to sue…check the Ashley Smith case..the family of a suicidal woman who committed suicide won a multimillions out of Court settlement of their lawsuit against the Correctional services Canada when she committed suicide inside the Detention Centre…not only that, it also prompted the Government to call an Unprecedented Full Blown Coroner’s Inquiry to LOOK much deeper into the issue and find the answers and formulate measures that it will not have to happen again…The Inquest is still in Progress…

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