/ 27 July 2020

The mother of a college student, whose Facebook post regarding an alleged unexplained school fees went viral, has urged other parents to also speak up!

In a telephone interview with an obviously pissed-off lawyer-mother, she exclaimed “my post seems to have caught fire.”

Atty. Emillie Gemanil-Espina’s open letter to the University of Santo Tomas has reportedly drawn sharp reaction from a countless of concerned mothers whose kids in privately-owned secondary and tertiary schools are being required to pay school admission and other fees which they alleged to be ‘questionable.’

The mother of an incoming sophomore Engineering student at the UST, Mrs. Espina demanded not only an explanation. She demanded as well to be enlightened on the various enrolment payables which she believed unnecessary in distance learning.


Her Facebook post followed: “There will be no electric consumption for the University considering the use of online classes. What is the laboratory fee for? No laboratory use for online learning. What is the library fee for? My son cannot physically use the library. Neither can he access the library materials online. What is the medical and dental fee for? My son will not even be examined for medical and dental considering that he is below twenty-one (21) years old and is not allowed under the IATF rules to go outside of our house. What is the registration fee for? Student registration is necessary in all the students’ enrollment, thus, this expense should not be passed on to the students.”

Similar grievances on the reported questionable school fees at this time of the coronavirus pandemic swept through a number of the academic communities where the paying parents were raising howl over the alleged unnecessarily excessive enrolment payables like fees for registration, library, laboratory, medical and dental, P.E., NSTP/ROTC and computer facilities.

Mrs. Espina said in the same interview that hundreds of what she described as concerned mothers have responded to her Facebook post calling for a concerted effort to address the possible unjust collection of school fees by universities and colleges during this period of the Covid19 pandemic.

“Sobrang marami ang nagtawagan sa akin para suportahan ang aking reklamo sa hindi maipaliwanag na bayaring sinisingil ng UST, na halos pare-pareho ang aming hinagpis at reklamo sa magkakaibang kolehiyo at unibersidad dahil ang nasabing school fees ay malinaw na hindi kailangan at hindi makatuwiran sa ngayong panahon ng pandemya na ang mga klase umano’y gagawing online,” she stressed.

She, then, expressed dismay over the alleged apathy of the UST administration to the issues she’d raised in her ‘open letter.’ She also deplored the inaction to his grievance by the Commission on Higher Education officials with whom she had reportedly furnished online a copy of her June 18, 2020 letter-complaint.

Asked on what categorical response she got from the UST and CHED officials out of her complaint, the lawyer-mother said “wala silang klarong tugon sa mga bayaring inireklamo ko maliban sa naka-template na paliwanag sa kanilang facebook page na hindi naman katanggap-tanggap.”

The POST tried but failed to get the side of the UST registrar’s office to whom Mrs. Espina’s open letter was specifically addressed. The personnel at the same office would not want to give any answer to the enrolment payable issues raised by the complainant, who said “the enrolment for online learning at the country’s Royal Pontifical university will start on August 3, 2020 and distance classes may begin on the 2nd week of August 2020.”