By Katrina Stuart Santiago

When I entered the State University as a freshman in 1995, I was part of an English block that was diverse by virtue of class. It didn’t take long to find that while some of us were from well-off families (I had a Romualdez in my class for example, and there were children of lawyers), and there were some of us who were versions of middle class; many of my blockmates came from poorer families, many from the provinces. Many of them, I later found, were dependent on scholarships, mostly from elsewhere other than the State U.

Read on


  1. I’m glad you put this up, because it gives space to discuss stfap. lots to talk about here. I uploaded a report proposing the new stfap back in 2006.


    like i said, lots to read. but i want to point to Fig 2, comparing the share of bracket 9 to brackets 1-4 under the OLD scheme.

    bracket 9 people, with incomes above 250k annually, were 88% of the population. brackets 1-4 were 5%. a little math will say that 7% is brackets 5-8; these students had less than 100% fee remission.

    so katrina’s anecdotes notwithstanding, the vast majority were bracket 9, and those people paid 300.

    the new system, created more categories at the top of the income distribution, and increased their fees based on inflation.

    I’d love to hear actual criticisms, based on actual data. anyone?

    • In the 90’s, the highest was a Bracket 7, not a Bracket 9. I don’t know at which point between the old STFAP and the new STFAP that a Bracket 9 was inserted.

      But precisely. The fact that a majority were in the highest bracket, and paying full tuition, is telling of two things: (1) we weren’t complaining, not many were complaining about the P300/unit because it didn’t measure you a millionaire; (2) those in lower brackets applied to be in those brackets.

      Contrary to the assertion that the new system created more categories, what it did was make Bracket 7 (or your Bracket 9), Bracket A, for students from families earning P1M pesos and above. That is the default bracket all students fall under. Not Bracket B, or C, or D, which would’ve been ideal, and would’ve meant having the rich(er) student admit to wealth and pay up as a part of Bracket A. THAT system would’ve been worth looking into. That is not what the current STFAP does.

      • the 2006 change added brackets A and B. bracket C has an income range that used to be bracket 9 (250K).

        now, your last paragraph is interesting and asks: what is the default bracket? i read this doc that suggests students should be assigned based on self-reported income/expenditure immediately, instead of putting everyone in either A or B to start.


        This seems OK to me, if only because it skips a step… under the current rules, lots of people will ask for a reassignment from the start, whereas under the proposal, the number of applicants for reassignment will be fewer.

        my own proposal takes something from what you are saying, and the current stfap.

        initially, make everyone either a D or E for the first sem or year. then take the sem or year to prove that you belong there.

        if you cannot prove you are a D or E, then you are bracketed up the next sem or year.

        this makes sense on informational grounds — the issue is, the school needs time to determine your ability to pay, so take 4 months or 8 months to make a determination.

        this makes sense on equity… you dont put pressure on the poor to prove that they are poor at the onset, and its harder for the rich to conceal that they are rich, if the school has enough time to investigate.

        the paper has another recommendation, which is useful — make the bracketing and verification done at the SUC level, and not centralized.

        but the larger point — bracketing IS a solution — still holds. its possible to tweak it.

        i understand you dont even believe that right? what is YOUR proposal?

  2. second thought: coz this is so interesting.

    i think katrina (and you too angela?) feel that tertiary education is a right. what this means (pls correct me if i am wrong) that the state should make sure everyone goes to college.

    is this correct? if so, 2 issues:
    1) why is tertiary education a right? why not just, say primary, or secondary? why tertiary? if tertiary, why stop there? is medical education a right? computers? english grad school? law school?

    2) lets say we answer (1) with some confidence, and we all agree on the answer, and the answer is YES its a right.

    question: how does the govt pay for it? can someone come up with the numbers to at least determine feasibility?

    i’m so fascinated by education right now, its taking up most of my day :)

    • The issue at hand is UP education being a right to those who pass the UPCAT. May set of limitations naman ito to begin with tulad ng entrance exam, but it’s always been an issue post-TFI how the conditions within the State University would be and were actually changed, and how that affects the student population and how large the number of students who pass, but fail to pay up.

      • “UP education being a right to those who pass the UPCAT. ” i dont think this is correct. a student has to pass exams and stuff right?

        passing the UPCAT means you have a position reserved for you. fees/tuition policy is something else.

        making payment more flexible is a step in the right direction. scrapping “no late tuition” is a good thing. in fact here’s my suggested policy: treat it like a credit card, you can pay a minimum bal to be a current student. however, before you graduate, you have to settle your balance.

        I dont know what TFI means.

  3. manuel buencamino

    Kung ang sistema sa UP ay tumutulak para magpakamatay ang mahirap na estudyante hindi ka ba nagtataka kung bakit hindi pangkaraniwan ang may nagpapakamatay dun?

    Masyado mo naman niliit si Ms. Tejada. Para mo na din sinabi na yung ibang libo-libong mahirap na estudyante sa UP ay mas matibay kaysa sa kanya.

    The STFAP obviously needs to be overhauled. You showed quite clearly why. So I don’t see the need for you or anybody to stand on Ms. Tejada’s coffin to make your point.

    The fact is there could have been other reasons for her suicide. But you dismissed any other possibility outright because it did not fit the message you were trying to convey. You turned her into a weapon against the system you despise. She deserves more than just being turned into a tool. She deserves respect not mockery. Point out what’s wrong with the STFAP but let Ms. Tejada rest in peace. Mahirap bang gawin yun?

    The essay was beautifully written. Sayang.

    • Mockery is your reading, and is in none of what I’ve written so far on Ms. Tejada.

      Respect, well, turning your back on her altogether, whatever her plight was — given your refusal to make a connection between being forced to go on LOA (as told by the UP admin) after five months of suffering through shame (as told by her teacher), and being broken by the Chancellor’s refusal to let her enroll (as told by the father), and her suicide — isn’t that disrespectful, too? Turning her into nothing but statistic, when conditions are such that yes, she could’ve been dealing with things more than what was in school, but school was all she had (as told by the father), and passing the UPCAT was her one hope (as told by the mother).

      Turning her into a statistic, is what happens in the insistence that suicide is more complex that THAT. And yet, poverty is as simple, if you want to talk about what else was here. It was poverty and need and struggle and suffering. Those are things her parents have talked about, too. As have the UP admin. The latter fell back on invoking deadlines.

      • manuel buencamino

        Poverty and need and struggle and suffering cold also have caused the suicide. But we don’t know do we?

        I did not turn her into a statistic. All I’m saying is if we are not sure of the facts then let’s not draw conclusions. And especially let’s not turn her into a prop and a tool for the great proletarian revolution. That’s mockery.

        Let her rest in peace. Let her family grieve with dignity. That’s all I’m saying.

        • If we cannot know anymore, as you say, then you ARE turning her into a statistic. For what else can she be but a number?

          And no, you calling it a mockery doesn’t make it a mockery. And your assertion of her or anyone being used as prop or tool is not telling of any revolution — proletarian and otherwise, none of which I’ve mentioned.

          It is telling of your own biases against a proletarian revolution. And it might be said that invoking dignity and grief is you standing on the coffin of the impoverished as you insist that a revolution is not what they need.

      • “forced to go on LOA “… whats wrong with an LOA?

        ” five months of suffering through shame” this is what is so tragic. if the teacher thought that she was having emotional problems, then she should have done something. there is no shame with the fact that one doesnt have money. as part of a community, we should confront these expectations head on.

        remember maybe a year ago, when the australian DJs crank called the nurse, and the nurse subsequently killed herself? everyone was baffled — why did she (the nurse) do that? there was no shame, and if she just talked about her feelings, tragedy might have been avoided.

        when a person feels shame, suicide is not the healthy response. we (as a people) should make sure that other people know that. the correct and healthy response is to try to rise above; and as friends and mentors, our job is to help that person do just that.

        di ba?

        • the LOA in itself isn’t bad. it is to be forced to go on it that is the problem. UP Manila has since denied the Forced LOA Memo, but it did come out on the interwebs soon after Kristel’s death. It was a memo from the Chancellor’s office, if I’m not mistaken.

          the five months that she was going to class, asking teachers if she could sit it, was certainly a critical time about which all we have is the voice of one teacher as opposed to the press releases of the UP Admin. that one teacher apparently saw her through much of those five months, and did reach out, tried to ask about her loans, etc. but apparently was one of at least four others (if she had five subjects, which would be regular load) who, if we are to believe Teddy Boy Locsin’s sources, treated her as a ghost, not acknowledging her in class. the UP admin says they did advice her to go to the guidance office, which she did once.

          i don’t know that ‘healthy’ response is something that can be imposed on everyone across the board, though if a guidance office were to function as something, it would be to have monitored her, followed up, etc. etc. but i don’t know that that exists in the State U.

    • mb,

      “You turned her into a weapon against the system you despise.” … is a cynical take. the truth is, people use dead people all the time for whatever reason, to further whatever goals. this isnt necessarily a bad thing — if for example a death leads to GOOD OUTCOMES, then its a good thing. for example, if the death of the newtown kids will lead to actions that limit gun violence, thats good right? same for this case, but frankly i was hoping that people would focus on mental health directly, and how relationships and openness about one’s feelings, counselling, and some old fashioned “taking perspective before you do something permanent”…. si randy david pa lang ang nakikita ko magsabi na mahalagang alamin ang damdamin ng ating mga kaibigan, and makinig sa mga problema nila.

      on the other hand, katrina is wrong about using the phrase “Turning her into nothing but statistic”. this phrase means the opposite of what she intends. what this means is, we shouldnt be defined by the things that happen to us, or things that we allow to happen to us, or even the things we do. it means that there is more to us than these things. we arent just rape victims, suicide cases, murder victims, drop outs, etc… we are more than these labels that can be counted and put in a graph. we have lives, relationships, and the actions we take in our lives.

      by celebrating her life, mb is not turning her into a statistic. he recognizes she is a person, which is correct and good.

      what katrina wants to say is that we should be inspired by this person, to further a cause that means something to us. thats fine to me.

      • a few years ago or decades, a study on which society is prone to commit suicide came out mentioning the Japanese as one of the top and the Filipinos on the least to commit such act. I think the reason was the Japanese society accepted this behaviour and their religion did not forbid such act specially if the shame they committed was against their honor or against the Emperor and its authorities or the community at large.
        In the Philippines case, we abhor suicide because the Catholic Church teaches us the self-destruction is against the will of God and never justified even if the motive as good or beneficial to society. The fear of hell was dangling as the Sword of Damocles. Hence, suicide then was a social stigma and even the Church do not allow religious service. Eventually, the church became relax against the rule especially if the suicide was committed by well known personalities like Miriam Defensor’s son and Gen. Reyes. For me, therefore, suicide could have been prevented for Kristel if there some form of support system such as a “spiritual adviser” or as Profe. David has mentioned a mentoring or a third party person who could have been a personal confidant to release her emotional problems. Of course, again also this is not her own personal problem but the the dysfunctional system plus an alienated bureuacracy due to economic constraints contributed a significant trigger point in her life.

        • “For me, therefore, suicide could have been prevented for Kristel if there some form of support system such as a “spiritual adviser””

          totally agree! i mean, not necessarily spiritual, but a system of counsellors and an awareness that emotional support is needed and sought for when one feels bad.

          dapat sana ito ang nakikita ko sa news. pero hindi. puro education reform.

          i dont mind the discussion, but i think its a strange response to what is a health issue.

    • why thank you, but i do have editors for that, not to mention Angela herself. i would love to see how you’d edit it, and then find out if that will mean people like Manuel Buencamino will therefore prove it more effective.

      on that note, i’d love to see how you’d write a polemic on this issue. say, a minimum of 1000 words?

  4. ANC’s Headstart guest Christopher Tejada as written by David Dizon for ABS-CBNnewsdotcom

    He said he encouraged Kristel to pursue her UP education since they saw it as their ticket out of poverty.

    Writer Dizon even quoted Mr. Tejada:

    “ Minsan ang pagtanggap ng tao sa kabiguan…buhay na mismo yung inaano niya e. Misnan ang pagtanggap ng tao ay inilalagay niya sa UP, sa UP ang buhay ko. Yun yung buhay ko. Pag tinanggal mo ito sa akin yung privilege na…yun lang yung tanging pag-asa niya na nakikita niya para matulungan kami,” he said.“Hindi nagpakamatay si Kristel dahil sinasabi nag-aaway, kahirapan, ganito. We’ve been experiencing this for the past 4 years. Bakit niya lang ginawa ito kung halimbawa nakikita niya na naghihirap kami, nag-aaway kami ng mama nya kasi alam niyo nasanay na siyang nakikita kaming nag-aaway. Nasanay na rin siyang naghihirap kami pero wala siyang magawa. Hindi siya pwedeng magtrabahao. Ang pwede lang niyang gawin mag-aral ng mabuti, i-continue yung pag-aaral niya despite nag-aaway kami at kulang kami sa pera.”“Kailangan niyang makatapos ng pag-aaral para makatulong sa sarilin niya at mai-uplift yung pamilya niya sa kahirapan na kinakasadlakan namin ngayon.”

    Constant pressure to perform or succeed“, “financial burden“, “overly concerned about the future of saving the family from debts“, and “depression” for several years come to mind.

    These are stressors that will prove extremely taxing to adolescents (especially at the phase of Erik Erikson’s Stage of Identity vs. Confusion in Psychosocial Development).

    Add “hopelessness” near the end and what do you expect?

    • I would say the recipe for what happened to the very bright student named Kristel was already there.

      For four years, she was inculcated (read: brainwashed) that she could be the lifesaver of the family once she finished her schooling. An official task was given to an adolescent who at the time was thinking of her own identity but was confused of her role in the family. It may have been a burden or not, nonetheless, taxing to the child.

      There was passion to go to school. There was a preoccupation (read: obsession) to go to school.

      However, negative life…and family…events repeatedly happened. Constant depression ensued…worsening depression without real counseling.

      Then there was desperation…hopelessness…

      The lethality of what she did, considering she’s a female, tells us what actually occurred…

      Tandaan (Remember): Without true love, we’re nothing,” she said in her letter.

      It wasn’t “murder“, Katrina.

    • These feelings are normal baycas.

      Who HASNT felt hopeless, at one point or another.

      the point is that we should be cognizant of feelings and deal with them in a constructive and healthy way.

      • Yes, they are all legitimate emotions. But there is a weight and intensity to them (how long they last, like a day or years, and how severe the shocks that create them). I’d guess you have been fortunate enough not to have to deal with a lifetime of hurt.

        The first step in a healthy mental state is to accept that we are responsible for our choices, and ought not try to live for other people’s expectations. Counseling could likely have helped this young woman stand stronger by herself, outside the negative influences of her surroundings.

      • @GabbyD,

        Now you know the value of Psychological Autopsy.

        Normal emotions must not lead to suicides and yet they happen to some.

        Now you know the value of Root Cause Analysis. Are preventive measures in place? How about support system in school? If they are present, were they appropriate? Adequate?

        Suicides can be prevented by ensuring systems to be effectively working like school guidance counselling and stress briefings/motivational talks both to teachers and students.

  5. Interesting article and discussion. College education, a right or privilege? In the US, college education is not a right and the qualificatioin exams (SAT) taken during the junior year of high school, are merely one criterion amongst many. “Need” is actually one of the criteria applied as schools try to serve the deserving but under-funded. It is always subjective, in the end, determining who gets in and who does not. The more budgets are cut, the more fees are raised, the more people are excluded, the more students rally in protest.

    The national government’s aim is to make the “opportunity for education” a right, instituting scholarship programs, affirmative action, supporting community colleges or other ways of making education broadly available.

    But, in the end, college is a business and the Board of Trustees, or whoever governs, would be remiss to run their business at a loss. That would assure either bad education or a failed school. No education, from there.

    I think it is good to eyeball the exams, eyeball the universities, criticize where warranted. It is not good to demand free education for all, unless we change the system of government to socialism so that we get rid of the conflicting notion of freedom and opportunity being the drivers that determine whether a kid gets into college or not.

    I personally think the bigger problem with education is at the elementary school and high school level, where too many opportunities are being cut off by 45 kids to a classroom. The universities are good.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

    • i wouldnt be too broad with that. for example, the rise of state U’s in the US started with the notion of free tuition.

      “The principle of free tuition for state residents was deeply ingrained in UC from its founding in the 1860s and reaffirmed in the 1960 master plan for public higher education, which acknowledged the university’s role as a driver of economic growth. Raising the instructional costs for students, the master plan said, would negate “the whole concept of wide-spread educational opportunity made possible by the state university idea.”

      the world has been moving on towards socialized fees, based on the principle that a subsidy should be directed towards the people who need it most, and not “everyone”.

      • Right, that is the aim and the ideal. But universities have to build buildings and pay teachers and there aren’t enough taxes in the world to do that and still build roads and hospitals and tanks and sanitariums. So they charge fees, and the needy get a break. But not EVERYONE can just walk into a university and sign up. You’ve got to bring good grades and good character.

        • Yes, JoeA. a former UP President, Dr.Vidal Tan, has said once “college or university education is an aristocracy of the intellect and the free”. To paraphrase, for me to qualify for higher education a student should possess both “higher academic intelligence” and free from economic and social need. Otherwise,better take a technical and not so academically challenge courses.

  6. After all been said about Kristel’s suicide, has there been a study of their economic situation, if really they’re living in poverty, and if they are, why did not they avail of the STFAP privilege of free tuition to student whose parent’s yearly income is not over P130,000.00? I know that journalists and bloggers are supposed to be inquisitive and so might serve them well to find out first the details of the family economic standing before condemning the system at the State University.

    The question to be answered is: Why was Kristel paying tuition at UP if the family is living in poverty. Another question would be: Is a family with P130,000.00 yearly income living in poverty?

  7. Putting context to Kristel’s death
    By Rafael Castillo M.D.
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    11:20 pm | Friday, March 22nd, 2013


    Medically rational

    It’s medically rational to assume that even if Kristel was not asked to file her LOA (leave of absence) for failing to pay her tuition, she might have been still a suicide risk. Granting for the sake of argument that the UP problem was the final straw that broke the camel’s back, the predisposition to commit suicide must have been brewing for quite sometime already, and even the least stressful situation could have provided the final straw.

    While we empathize with Kristel and sympathize with her family for their big loss, we should also try to put things in proper perspective to prevent more student suicides from happening. We’re just concerned that Kristel’s act might be interpreted by our students as an act of great courage or even martyrdom in fighting for a cause, and that they can consider the same option should they be in a similar situation.

    Our teachers and professors at various school levels should discuss the problem of suicide objectively and dispassionately with their students and disabuse any idea in the minds of these students that suicide is a lofty act to do when one can no longer see a clear solution to the many problems confronting a student.

    Suicide is one of the top causes of deaths among students. Unfortunately, this problem has not been properly recognized and adequately addressed in most schools. Unless this is recognized as a real and serious problem among students, which requires preventive interventions, I’m afraid we will have many more Kristels in the future.

        • Yes, anyone is at risk of committing suicide due to medical reasons. But, is the fall-out due to an illness she could not manage to have it addressed due to poverty or gravitating factor like the environment or just a psychosomatic reaction? to me, a suicidal note invalidates a mental imbalance if the motive is self-sacrifice or undue physical violence or extreme pain.

          • You have to perform a thorough analysis to really know the cause-and-effect in the particular case.

            The point is that suicide is a result of cascading failures, a confluence of past events and NOT just one reason the author of “Rage” tried to convey. It’s as if there was even “murder”.

            Medical literature says most suicides are a result of psychopathology but other reasons may be present.

            Btw, who in the right mind will present for psychiatric evaluation just because one thinks he is mentally ill? Though this is not absolute, reality says otherwise.

          • Note on my last statement: I believe even mentally ill persons think that they are mentally sound.

            Well, this could probably be a contentious issue left hanging perhaps because of irrelevancy to the topic.

        • godofredo stuart

          She left a suicide note that spoke of love, asking for forgiveness and prayers, with a cryptic few words: “Without true love, we’re nothing.”

          The words didn’t blame anything or anyone. Just that she couldn’t cope anymore. Hindi ko na lang talaga rin kinaya. Words written by a young woman who has given up.

          Her suicide wasn’t veiled in secrecy or privacy, Rather, her tragic death became a bandwagon for denouncing educational policies and societal failures, even blaming the “system” as the immediate cause of her death.

          She took a leave of absence two days before she committed suicide. Easy to imagine that at that time she had already decided to take her life.

          Perhaps stories will surface that will shed more light on her sad story. Something whispered to a friend. Something in her past. Periods of depression. Psychosocial footprints. Something that broke her heart. Things that might have slowly pushed her to t he edge. What besides impoverishment? What other stressors in her pressure cooker world? Was there a cry for help? The struggle to cope. The eventual depression? Helplessness. Hopelessness. And finally giving up.

          To say she was depressed is a reasonable clinical assumption. It has been said over 90% of those who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. And the most common mental illness is depression. And untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.

          A 2012 published article by the The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention–Suicide in the absence of mental disorder? A review of psychological autopsy studies across countries–presents different figures: 66.7% of suicide cases remained without diagnosis, concluding variation in the proportion of suicide cases may reflect cultural specificities in the conceptualization and diagnosis of mental disorder. In general, China and India had higher proportion of suicides without diagnosis compared to studies based in Europe, North America and Canada.

          The Philippines is in that category. Suicide cases without diagnosis, suicide in the absence of mental disorder. But depression is there, undiagnosed, hidden. Perhaps, to the upper and middle class, it is a familiar malady, something one might even consult for, spend medicines on. Certainly, not in the masa world. In the province, depression is mostly unrecognized, alien in the rural patois. Psychiatry has no place in rural medicine. There is no mental health care, other than the rare case that gets taken to Mental Hospital. Even if there is, it would be pharmaceutically unaffordable. Instead, mental illness is generalized into tupak, hibol, may sayad, binubuwan, or abno. The manifestations are distilled into: iyak nag iyak, hind makausap, hind makatulog, tahimik, nagmumukmok; too often, doused by alcoholism or drug abuse. Eventually the behavioral aberration merits the visit to the albularyo, for a diagnostic tawas that often points to a diagnosis of na-duwende or na-nuno.

          In one ranking, China was reported to have 22.23 suicides/100,000 population, 8th in the world; India, 10.5/100,00, 46th in the world. The Philippines averaged 2.1 suicide deaths/100,000 population, about 2,300 year, the study ranked the Philippines 172 of 192 countries.

          A more recent study–Suicide in the Philippines: time trend analysis (1974-2005) and literature review by M T Redaniel, M A Lebanan-Dalida and D. Gunnel–reports an increase of suicide in males from 0.23 to 3.59 per 100,000 from 1984 to 2005, and 0.12 to 1.09/100,000 in females; among females, the highest in the 15-24 year olds. The numbers still compute low: 4.68/100,000 population, 4500 deaths a year, even with adjustments for what the study cites as possible underreporting because of social stigma and non-acceptance by the Catholic Church and its denial of a Christian burial.

          Still, the numbers are low: flawed democracy, sick system, impoverished masa and all.

          I do not know how much impoverishment contributed to Tejada’s death. Like others, I am saddened by her story of impoverishment, thwarted dreams, and the family’s misfortunes. In rural Tiaong where I live, it is a generic story, the all too common plight, isang-kahig-isang-tuka, the dream of education realized, often, through sacrifice, struggle, the occasional beneficence of others, through students skipping a year to work and save for another year of college, through usurious loans or the emergency selling of cows and tricycles, the pawning the tiny sliver of land they live on. I have been approached by the desperate parent whose son threatened suicide. For many, the dreams are never realized. They manage to cope. Go on with their lives, with one less dream.

          Kristel Tejada could not cope. She gave up. No one saw it coming. Even with numbers, studies, statistics–a study reporting the prevalence of suicidal ideation among adolescents from low and middle income families in the Philippines as 17.1%; the rising numbers of suicide in females, highest among 15-24 year olds, the leading cause of death in the age group of 15 to 39.

          • Very caring and objective overview. Thanks. I look at the statistics, and this case, and wonder at the correlation between high suicides and the dashing of hope, or the crushing of esteem. That is why both the US and China would ride high in incidents of suicide, and the Philippines low. Filipinos broadly have not entered into the emotionally high-pressure realm of competing for opportunity where they judge their worth by what they think others think. If that is the case, as the Philippines gets wealthier, the middle class expands and more people compete for real opportunities, the suicide rate will increase.

            It is rather the ugly underbelly of success, and it suggests it would be wise to make emotional counseling more widely available.

          • baycas

            Thank you very much, Dr. Butch.



            Results: The incidence of suicide in males increased from 0.23 to 3.59 per 100,000 between 1984 and 2005. Similarly, rates rose from 0.12 to 1.09 per 100,000 in females. Amongst females, suicide rates were highest in 15-24 year olds, whilst in males rates were similar in all age groups throughout the study period. The most commonly used methods of suicide were hanging, shooting and organophosphate ingestion. In non-fatal attempts, the most common methods used were ingestion of drugs, specifically isoniazid and paracetamol, or organophosphate ingestion. Family and relationship problems were the most common precipitants. While rates were lower compared to other countries, there is suggestive evidence of underreporting and misclassification to undetermined injury. Recent increases may reflect either true increase or better reporting of suicides.

            Redaniel et al. BMC Public Health 2011, 11:536

            The link to the article:


          • baycas

            According to Dr. Lynn Panganiban, former director of the National Poison and Management Control Center (NPMCC), they observed that poison-related suicide cases tend to increase during Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

            “Most of the time it’s relational, there is a problem in the family or their loved ones. We rarely see cases related to job loss,” she noted in the initial “Health Update Manila” forum last Friday, organized by UPM’s Information, Publication and Public Affairs Office (IPPAO).

            Panganiban added that they also see a spike in suicide attempts during the enrolment period, apparently over lack of money to pay for tuition.

            She said they also observed that those who commit suicide are also getting younger. “We were seeing suicidal incidents among teenagers… (as early as) 12 years of age and the cause is not accidental,” Panganiban said.


            Panganiban claimed that of the 3,332 poisoning cases last year, 20 percent were caused by “silver jewelry cleaner,” which contains cyanide. She warned that some of the victims are children who accidentally swallowed the poisonous chemical.

            Based on the NPMCC’s documentation, the Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have banned in November 2010 the use of solutions with cyanide and other toxic substances in cleaning silver jewelry. The two agencies have warned the public against buying such “unregistered or unlabeled silver jewelry cleaning solutions” that are proliferating in the market.

            Sheila Crisostomo | Updated September 18, 2011 – 12:00am


  8. Do you know of the Suicide Prevention Act of 2005? It requires school heads and counselors to collect, monitor and acknowledge all events and parties associated with suicide incidences. It has yet to be implemented.

    Ms. Doyo asks.

    She ends her article…

    The common components of national suicide prevention strategies are public awareness, media education, access to services, building community capacity, means restriction, training, and research and evaluation.

    For suicide prevention advocates, the World Health Organization has a publication “Towards Evidence-Based Suicide Prevention Programmes” that provides basic strategies. But it stresses that there is no single solution in dealing with suicide in a heterogeneous environment—that is, one size does not fit all—and that there is need for novel approaches.

    For support groups, family members and school personnel, there is the “Suicide First Aid Guidelines for the Philippines” by the Foundation for Advancing Wellness, Instruction and Talents Inc.

    Some numbers to call in case of suicide threats: 0917-5724673, 0917-5584673, 0917-8524673, 0917-8425673, 2114550, 2111305 and 8937606.

    Suicide and the ‘feeding frenzy’
    By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    8:41 pm | Wednesday, March 27th, 2013