UP dormers in Koronadal campus to be displaced
by Jonalyn Balome
Students of the UP Manila School of Health Sciences Extension Campus in South Cotabato (UPM-SHS-ECSC) residing in makeshift dormitories are in danger of getting displaced, following a request from the administration to remove the dorms due to the school’s lack of budget.
The dormitories, dubbed as bahay kubos by the students, reportedly consumed high electricity costs which the campus cannot afford. The administration also cited the students’ uncontrolled garbage disposal as basis for their request to remove the bahay kubos.
“If they will be eliminated from the [bahay] kubo, the school will greatly mitigate electric bill…They should look for their own boarding houses if the proposal will be approved,” said Medelyn Peria, manager of the bahay kubos and UPM SHS-ECSC instructor.
Established in 2010, the UPM SHS-ECSC in Koronadal City offers degree programs on midwifery and nursing. The campus serves as one of UPM’s regional campuses seeking to train health workers that UPM’s medicine program can no longer accommodate. Budget for the regional campus is sourced from both the UP administration and the local government unit.
A total of 12 bahay kubos that houses three to five students are being used by around 50 percent of the campus’ student population. The provincial government of South Cotabato has been subsidizing the cost of the bahay kubos since 2011 so students can stay there for free.
“The maintenance and other operating expenses from the provincial government are not sufficient to maintain our expenses in the school,” said Peria.
Amid the lack of funding from the provincial government, the UP administration has also failed to address the problem on student housing in UPM SHS ECSC as no allocation under the university’s P11.4 billion 2016 budget has been allotted for the construction of dormitories in any campus.
Meanwhile, students were alarmed by the faculty’s proposal, stating that measures other than the complete removal of the bahay kubos can be taken.
“[Displacing] all students who stay in the kubo is not the right course of action. Disciplinary actions like imposing not to use electric stove, minimize charging gadgets, mitigating water consumptions and installing garbage bins are small things which can be helpful to minimize the electric bill and garbage,” said one of the students staying in the bahay kubo.
Since majority of the students come from poor families, most of them cannot afford the rent expenses in boarding houses, according to midwifery student Evelyn Aturdido.
“Our parents cannot provide enough allowances regularly. These kubos really help us and our family because [we can’t afford the boarding houses outside campus]. Here, as long as we have rice, we can continue our studies,” Aturdido added. ###
Jonalyn Balome is a 2nd year BS Nursing student at the UP Manila School of Health Sciences Extension Campus in South Cotabato and currently the Managing Editor of Sulo, the official student publication of the UP campus in Koronadal
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