HEADLINES

Admin: Flat rate will benefit students

Ray Chen S. Bahinting | Editor-in-Chief

All college students will pay a uniform energy or aircon fee of P1,848.96 per semester effective school year 2018-2019 based on a computation released by the office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration after the university converted the aircon fee into fixed or flat rate.

The computation is based on a regular student with 24 units multiplied by 4.28 kilowatt per hour (kWh). The kWh figure is derived from the mean of the university’s energy consumption in the last three school years, said  Percival M. Genove, Director of Management Information System.

The product is then multiplied by 18, the total number of weeks per regular semester, for a total of P1,848.96.

For summer classes, the fixed aircon rate amounts to P616.32.

Silliman University Buildings and Grounds (SUBG) Supervisor Edgar Ygnalaga said that the flat rate will have a positive effect on the students because the classrooms are conducive to learning.

He added that the flat rate means lesser hassle for administration.

At present, students are charged per classroom rate: contact hours of subject and class size.

Ygnalaga explained: “Naa may discrepancies usahay [on the present charging of fee]. Naay mureklamo [nga] wala mi gaklase [but] wala kabalo ang business kay wala ka report ang department nga wala d’i ga klase ang faculty.

“So ang mahitabo mugasto napud ug laing tawo mucheck lang sa classroom [if classes are attended to.] Naa may ubang faculty run nga walay klase nia mu-make up sila. Niya ang ilang make up class mas taas pa sa ilang original class.”

(“There are discrepancies sometimes. There are complaints about unannounced cancellation of classes, yet students are charged the aircon fee. But the Business and Finance office is unaware of that because the department does not report it.

“So what happens is the administration will hire another person to check if classes are being attended to. There are some faculty who hold make-up classes, but sometimes their make-up classes are longer than their original class.”)

He also added that the identification of aircon and non-aircon laboratory and lecture rooms is even more “tedious” for the administration.

Unfair
However, during the consultation meeting with the administration, the Silliman University Faculty Association expressed some concerns about this new scheme through a letter.

The letter reads, “The change in the method of charging Energy Fee is unfair, considering that not all students carry the same number of subjects per semester. A student enrolled with only three units is heavily burdened by paying the same Energy Fee as compared to a student enrolled with 24 units.”

In her reply to this, Atty. Fe Marie Tagle, Vice President for Finance and Administration, said the new scheme is justifiable since there are more over-loaded than under-loaded college students.

According Genove, there are only 183 under-loaded students compared to 246 over-loaded students.

Ygnalaga, on the other hand, said, “Nganong three units ra man siya? If lantawon man gud nimo, kanang energy fee, positive na siya. Ug estudyate ka, dili gud ko magbinuang ug eskuyala para dili ka mu kuha ug three units ra nga ang full load is 24 [units] man. Consequences na siya ug magbinuang kag eskuyla.”

(“Why do the students only have three units? If you take a look at it, that energy fee is positive. If you are a student, you should be serious about schooling so that you will not take only three units when the full load is 24 units. Those are the consequences if you do not take your education seriously.”)

He added, “Actually, kanang 12 units, talagsa rana siya mahitabo. Mga OP [on probation students] na sila. Mga wala kakuha sa ilang prerequite subjects, so mao nay consequences. Dili pud tanang estudyante ana, pila man naka percent sa [entire college] population. If one percent ra, negligible ra na.”

(“Actually, it is very rare that a student has only 12 units. They are OP (On Probation) students who have not taken their prerequisites. But they comprise the smallest percentage of the entire population, hence, negligible.”)

TRAIN law
Tagle added that the conversion to flat rate is a “counter measure” against the impacts of the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

It is also a way to avoid “undercharging” students, Tagle said.

Part of the provisions of TRAIN law is the removal of tax exemptions on value-added tax for cooperatives such as the Negros Oriental Electric Company II, which supplies SU’s electricity.

Tagle also explained that the benefits of the solar panels (installed in the university in 2017) can be obtained only after five years, when the university will have recovered from the cost of installation.

The solar power project will generate around 1.2 megawatts of power all over the University. (With reports from Chrisse Martha Gillesania, News Writer)

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