The recent death of Cristelyn May Villance, a second year Criminology student of Capiz State University (CapSU)-Dumarao Campus last 14 May 2020 at Brgy. Astorga, Dumarao in Capiz, has triggered news releases and allegations by student groups that are based on unsubstantiated claims that have muddled the case.

Groups such as the Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK), Anakbayan UP Diliman and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) have used the issue to express their opposition against ‘flexible learning’ and have connected this incident to what they call “CHED’s insensitivity to longstanding demands for pro-student guidelines and directives.”

These groups claim that Villance was looking for an internet connection to submit requirements for her subjects when she met an accident.

They argued that had she stayed home instead of looking for an internet signal, she would not have been exposed to unnecessary risks whenever students go out of their houses to access the internet and comply with school requirements.

As CHED Chairman and Chairman of the CapSU Board of Regents, I strongly condemn this distorted and unfounded claims of these student groups.

CapSU President Editha C. Alfon has already reported to the Commission the following facts:

1) There are only two (2) subjects in the BS Criminology program where teachers required online submission of requirements for those with internet access. In consideration of those students who have no ready access to the internet, the teachers gave them the option to submit or comply by any other means deemed feasible.

2) As per record of the concerned teachers, Villance had, in fact, passed all requirements of her subjects requiring online submission last April 27 and April 29, 2020, way before the accident occurred on May 14, 2020.

In short, she could not have been looking for an internet connection to submit her requirements for her course because she had already completed all requirements two weeks before the accident.

I do not know where these student groups get their information, or whether they actually verify stories they hear, but it is irresponsible to issue unfounded statements specially because this involves the untimely death of a student.

The proper recourse of these student groups would have been to read the police report of the accident and get the official report of the CAPSU officials.

The Commission calls on SPARK, Anakbayan UP Diliman, NUSP and all other groups to stop sensationalizing the issue to push their political agenda. The use of this incident for propaganda purposes is insensitive and an insult to the family of the victim. We urge the public to respect the family during this difficult time and to circulate news based on facts. Fake news and taking advantage of the misfortune of the family does not reflect well on student groups that claim to represent the interests of students.

For the Commission:

Commission on Higher Education

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