BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I was beet red as I stood there in front of the bank teller, counting the last of my money. I needed to deposit P6,600 in my checking account. The day before I issued a check worth P6,600 as downpayment for my child's tuition.

For months, I prepared for tuition time but each time I am able to raise a significant amount, an equally important matter comes up. It's a never-ending list of expenses for a single mom like me who is trying to raise to the best of her ability a four-year old little lady.

And so there I was with P6,500. I was short by a hundred pesos. My two ATM cards had been wiped out. I turned my bag inside out searching for whatever money I could find. Every pocket was turned upside down in full view of the very patient bank teller.

Finally, I found a 50-peso bill here and two crumpled 20-peso bills there. I opened my coin purse to fill in the balance and after about 15 minutes inside the bank, I was able to fund my check.

My check will not bounce and my daughter will not lose her slot in the preschool that we applied for.

I left the bank feeling so frustrated. Why does tuition have to cost that much? Why do parents have to send their children to private schools? Why is the quality of public education in the Philippines so bad?

But after a few seconds of ranting, I realized that I and my little girl are still very lucky. Other mothers will not be able to send their children to school at all.

I long to see the day that every Filipino child will be able to go to school and have access to quality education.

For this to happen, every centavo paid by taxpayers must go to state coffers and not to the pockets of corrupt and greedy officials.

Now, that would be the day.