MERHD delaying of allowance sees SIG-scholars in Philippines on the streets
BY BARNABAS MANEBONA and MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
WHAT we have feared has happened – Solomon Islands government-sponsored students in the Philippines have been kicked out of their homes, it is reported.
As many as 300 students are affected. They are still waiting for their allowance.
The last allowance was paid in May.
The Ministry of Education’s National Training Unit (NTU) claimed last week that the students have been paid their July allowances. However, the students steadfastly refute this.
They condemn NTU and the President of their students association (SISAP) for dishing out false information seeing them also querying and debating on their social media page about the payment made by NTU reported in the Solomon Star newspaper.
“The news supplied by the SISAP President is misleading. SISAP’s President is talking about his own interest but not for the welfare of students because what has been said in the media especially Solomon Star is different from the reality which we currently experience,” said students.
One student member of SISAP via email wishing for anonymity shared, “90 percent of students are studying here at AMA Quezon. For sure we are yet to receive our allowances, and as far as I know from my direct contact with a finance staff, she told me only few students studying at Far East University received their allowance last week on Thursday.
“For some other universities I know through contacting, students are yet to receive their allowances as well, like AMA Makati, AMA Cavite, AMA Delta and other universities in Manila city.”
Another student living out of campus also sharing, said, “Some of us stay far away from school as far as I know have moved in to live with other students because of rent issue.
“In addition, many students’ parents are also living in villages [here in Solomon Islands] so they find it difficult to contact them for financial support, however, some students manage to contact their parents but they can’t afford to pay such bills for 3 months now.”
To date, Second Semester allowances including reinstatement allowances are still not paid, the students said.
Regarding transcripts, they say some students are unfortunate to enrol because of late arrival in the Philippines to resume classes after the break, and a consequence of not releasing allowances accordingly.
“For Visa, to be honest, currently the majority of students’ visas have been expired since June this year. If students are found, SIG will pay a heavy fine of SBD$10,000 to SBD$15,000,” said students.
It is understood that the National Training Unit (NTU) Director has scheduled meeting for 2pm tomorrow, Wednesday, at AMA Quezon, with what students amongst SISAP still say as ‘unknown agendas’.
“We are still not sure if is it an official visit for students or an unofficial one though it was mentioned in the media that amongst other things, they are expected to discuss matters relating to students’ welfare, visas and academic matters with the institutions that host Government sponsored students.
“If allowances are not paid until next month September then it seems that all of us studying here under SIG will be affected.
“Currently, the majority affected are from the main Campus and our estimation on students affected is more than 300.”