Text by Inna Christine Cabel and Nicole Angela Mallari
Photos by Summer Bastian
(Update: This story has been updated to add quotes and attributions.)
(Editor’s note: Former OSH OIC Gerry Lanuza declined our request for an interview.)
MANILA – The proposal to increase the food fees in several dormitories is still subject to consultation with all the residents, the Office of the Student Housing (OSH) Officer-in-Charge said.
OSH OIC Shirley Guevarra said the office is not yet set to implement any increase on dorm fees and the proposed hike was only a result of the OSH planning workshop in July.
More than 1,000 residents in Kalayaan, Ilang-Ilang and Molave dormitories will be affected by the fee increase once it kicks off.
According to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs website, these three dormitories operate on a single fee system, meaning the fees shall cover board and lodging and meals will be provided by canteen concessionaires inside the residence halls.
Guevarra also said that a motion to increase food fees was put forward years ago. However, it did not materialize because most residents from Kalayaan did not agree with it.
And as it was before, should the new proposal be rejected by the dormers, OSH will have to “look for other ways to encourage interested business groups or individuals to operate (on the dormitories with a limited budget).”
Guevarra said that the P85 per day board fee has been in effect for the last 15 years. To date, there are no interested bidders since the concessionaires argued that the P85 for the three meals [per] day is not sufficient to sustain their operation due to the continuous increase in the prices of commodities, OSH OIC said.
Meanwhile, dormers are divided on the fee increase.
“The price gap then and now is really huge. It will be unfair to the caterers if they will agree to the P85. In our case as dormers, we still save energy, time, and money because we need not go outside to buy [food],” Eunice Torres, a resident of Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall, said.
Meanwhile, Kalayaan dormer Chester Retamal sees that the possible fee increase will be a problem to students. “Budgeting our daily expenses here in UP Diliman is already incredibly difficult; we can’t afford any new fee increases. Waiting for the OSH to finalize their food scheme just adds to our problem.”
As of the second week of August, no food is offered on the three single-fee dormitories. Ilang-Ilang Dorm Manager Sonia David said food will be available once the food fees issue is settled.
IN PHOTOS: UPD Dorms