After student's death, bill recognizing British school 'in limbo'

MANILA, Philippines – The recognition of the British School Manila (BSM) as an educational institution of international character will have to wait for now.

"[Senate Bill 2147] will be held in abeyance until the committee decides on what to do with it," Senator Sergio Osmeña III said on Monday, June 15, after the second public hearing on the BSM incident involving student Liam Madamba.

Liam jumped from the 6th floor of the Dela Rosa carpark building in Legazpi Village in Makati City on February 6. He was rushed to the nearby Makati Medical Center but died several hours later.

A scholar at BSM, the boy was reportedly traumatized after one of his teachers allegedly made him apologize to the entire school body for plagiarizing a paragraph in his essay even if it was just a first draft. (READ: Mother of fallen BSM student: Apology letter had 'red flags')

The incident happened just as the school – established in 1976 – is seeking an official recognition from the State through SB 2147.

BSM head Simon Mann told Rappler in an earlier interview that a republic act is a "firmer foundation" for the school compared to a memorandum of agreement with the education department, which has to be renewed "when required."

Osmeña on Monday admitted the chance of the bill to pass the 16th Congress faces uncertainty in view of recent developments. (READ: DepEd: BSM may face sanctions over Liam Madamba's death)

"The British School has become a very highly-respected, outstanding educational institution on the secondary level. We're proud of what it has accomplished, but sometimes managers, its management may make mistakes, and that is the issue in this case," explained Osmeña, who presided over Monday's hearing. 

But despite what happened to her son, Liam's mother Trixie believes BSM deserves the recognition.

"Hopefully, good things will happen to the bill. I still do believe BSM deserves that bill, but really, not now that this kind of leadership is still there," she said.

Trixie is calling for the resignation of top BSM officials Simon Bewlay and Mann for the leadership's "bad governance." (READ: Report: Fallen BSM student saw apology letter as punishment– Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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