BAGUIO CITY (July 22, 2022) – La Union province’s Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Education has began to closely examine the case of John Rosaldo, a nursing graduate who was not allowed to go on stage during his graduation rites at the Lorma Colleges because of an “unprocessed graduation fee”, which went viral online.
Thursday’s hearing headed by Board Member Cynthia Bacurnay and attended by officials of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (APSCU) and Department of Education (DepEd), was prompted by a privilege speech of BM Joy Ortega where she recounted the nursing graduate’s harrowing experience. She then appealed to officials to explore legislative remedies to prevent similar incidents to occur again.
Lorma Colleges though reiterated it had malicious intent, arguing “we have always done our best to be compassionate and understanding with all students with various challenges in meeting obligations, but as with any legitimate organizations, there are deadlines with consequences, such that any last-minute changes may incur the risk of not being accommodated,” Dr. Pacita Apilado said as she read the message of Lorma Colleges president Dr. Carol Lynn E. Macagba.
Rosaldo’s mother Kathreen, who went with his son at the SP inquiry Thursday expressed her family’s difficulty to move on considering the sacrifices they made if only to send his son to school. She admitted the whole family was traumatized.
Ortega, amid a number of instances where her colleagues BM Jennifer Mosuela-Fernandez and BM Chary Nisce moved to suspend the hearing on grounds that the SP was not the proper venue to discuss the issue, was able to insist the probe to continue since “all relevant parties and officials were already present, thus making it the ideal venue for dialogue and resolution”.
Ortega, a champion of mental health, emphasized the need to draft an ordinance to rectify undue school policies, particularly a Magna Carta to standardize fee collections that are more humane and compassionate for students. “Students have inalienable rights, and as soon as an institution curtails these rights, it constrains their academic freedom,” she noted.
The lack of a standard Magna Carta for students across the nation, she added, puts their academic freedom at risk — along with other basic rights that should be upheld in an educational setting.
The CHED vowed to facilitate a win-win solution to the issue while vowing to work out a resolution of the issue with the LU SP.
Artemio A. Dumlao
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