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Mayor Honey lauds UDM while vowing to address problem at PLM

Honey Lacuna
Mayor Honey Lacuna praises UdM for fast release of allowance while she assures parents of PLM students that she will address the delay at PLM herself. (JERRY S. TAN)

Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna lauded the Universidad de Manila (UdM) for having distributed the allowances of its students in a very swift manner while on the other hand assuring that the delay in the release of similar allowance for students over at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) will be duly addressed by her office.

Lacuna made the comment as a resident raised the said delay in the release of PLM students’ allowance during the mayor’s recent “Kalinga sa Maynila” forum held in the city’s third district.

The lady mayor allayed the worries of all parents of PLM students, saying she had already asked its President Emmanuel Leyco to give a definite date as to when the said allowance would finally be given to the students. Leyco, whose appointment had been invalidated twice by the Civil Service Commission, also is currently being questioned by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for his lack of a doctorate degree, a requirement for PLM to be able to to get Institutional Recognition (IR) and subsequently avail of government subsidy amounting to P350 million.

To the mother who asked regarding the delay in the release of the said allowance from the PLM, Lacuna said: “Magandang katanungan… oo nga.. according po sa Presidente ng PLM, nagve-verify pa din po sila… pero ‘wag po kayo mag-alala dahil mag-uusap kami dahil nanghingi na po kami ng definite na araw kung kelan po nila ilalabas… wala pong problema, ‘yan po ay hindi lang ninyo katanungan, kundi katangunangpo yan ng nakararaming may mga anak na nag-aaral sa PLM,” she said.

“Pero ‘wag po kayong mag-alala, nakatutok na po ako doon… oo, kasi ang UdM (Universidad de Manila) tapos na eh, di ba? Oo, mabilis sila,” the lady mayor noted. The UdM is headed by Dr. Felma Carlos-Tria as its President.

The city government of Manila provides P1,000 in monthly stipend to UdM and PLM students and P500 for those in Grade 12, as part of the local government’s special amelioration program (SAP).

It will be recalled that in December 2020, then Mayor Isko Moreno himself had to apologize to the parents of PLM students for the fiasco that attended the distribution of the same monthly allowance.

“Sa mga nanay at tatay ng PLM students, ako po ay humihingi ng pasensiya sa inyo. Sa mga PLM students na nanonood, please share this broadcast… pasensiya na kayo, marami sa inyo naghintay nang matagal maghapon at inabot ng halos hatinggabi nung unang araw ng distribusyon.. ako na po ang nahingi ng pasensiya sa inyong kainipan at matagal na paghihintay sa pila sa loob ng PLM,” Moreno sighed.

His apology came after the distribution of the city government’s financial assistance to the PLM students on December 16, 2020 was marred by chaos and lack of system, as throngs trooped, complaining that the online system was not working prompting them to go to PLM personally. The payout personnel allegedly arrived hours late and social distancing was also reported to not have been observed, as it was still the height of the pandemic then.

When things did not turn out orderly at the PLM, Moreno stepped in and asked city treasurer Jasmin Talegon to make the city cashiers stay on and render overtime just to finish the long queues caused by the confusion earlier in the day and issued this statement: “Sa mga nagtampo na PLM students na hirap na hirap, nauunawaan ko kayo. Ipagpaumanhin ninyo.. kung anumang miscommunication.. para wala nang turuan, I take full responsibility.. sa mga naghintay ng pitong oras, pero yan ay di naman nangyari sa UDM at sa iba’t-ibang lugar.”

Moreno cited that various city offices like the Office of the Senior Citizens’ Affairs then headed by Marjun Isidro and the social welfare department under Re Fugoso have also been distributing financial assistance to various beneficiaries simultaneously in the entire city and all have been orderly, with what happened to the PLM as the only exception. Apart from the city-run university students from PLM and the UDM, monthly allowances are also being provided by the city for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and solo parents, among others.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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