Youth Commission to UP: Student housing, a basic human right
MANILA, Philippines — “While we recognize that higher education is a privilege, access to housing, even transitory, is a basic human right,” said National Youth Commission (NYC) Assistant Secretary Jose Rafael Cruz.
Cruz was commenting on the ongoing dormitory crisis in the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
As classes opened in UP on Monday, August 3, around 300 low-income UP students were appealing to be admitted to dormitories after failing to secure slots. Many of them came from far-flung provinces.
Although UP Diliman has around 24,000 students, it only maintains 13 residence halls which can only accommodate around 3,600 dormers.
The NYC, in a press statement, urged the Office of Student Housing (OSH) of UP Diliman to “speedily address” the appeals.
Photos of students sleeping right outside UP offices and dormitories quickly made the rounds online.
No support system in Manila
The situation, according to Cruz, is two-fold: “First, it displays the steadfast spirit of the Filipino youth in their pursuit of education. ”
“Second, this calls for a speedy resolution of the issue so as not to dampen the enthusiasm of our youth to seek higher education in one of our country's premiere universities,” Cruz added.
The youth commissioner noted that some of the homeless students do not have a support system in Manila.
"We sympathize as well with their parents who have entrusted their children to the University (but could) only watch helplessly," Cruz stressed.
Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon urged the UP administration to immediately address the dormitory crisis, stressing that UP charges the highest tuition among all state universities.
"We call on the UP administration to immediately act on these issues. Paying high tuition and school fees is already a heavy burden for students and their families. The least the UP administration could do is to provide efficient service to all students. What is happening right now is far from being efficient,” Ridon said.
While waiting for the administration to fix the problem, the College of Mass Communication in UP Diliman rolled out an online campaign, asking students to provide temporary accommodations for the displaced Iskolars ng Bayan (state scholars). – Rappler.com