Kristel Tejada, a 16-year-old poverty-stricken freshman student at the University of the Philippines Manila, committed suicide on Friday, a couple of days after she was forced to go on leave for failure to pay tuition on time.
Pascual added that even before Tejada's death he has made efforts to improve UP's financial assistance program.
"To think also that the reforms I have been pushing since I took office to simplify the STFAP application process and increase the financial aid for poor students are already planned for Board of Regents action next month," he said. "But it takes time to implement change. We can easily be overtaken, as we have been, by a sudden turn of events. But I am confident we can turn the tragedy into a greater resolve to act and make UP accessible to the poor."
The UP official promised that his administration "will take the necessary steps to address the policy and administrative issues that are related to this unfortunate tragedy."