Caught this roaming around UP related mailing lists and Friendster accounts. Thought I’d repost it here. I just copied and pasted this so big a big blockquote around it and a hug (sic) afterwards.

All credit goes to the Mrs. Sandra P. Santos (mother of Ma.Angelina P. Santos, a BS Chemical Engineering student of UP). This is her letter to UP President Emerlinda Roman regarding the 300% tuition fee increase in UP effective next year for new students.

Dear President Roman,

I am a mother of 3 children. Having a daughter studying in UP Diliman and 2 songs in high school has kept me waiting intently on the developments surrounding the tuition fee hike.

I am most disturbed by the last 4 paragraphs of your response to Regent Simbulan. In the 3rd from the last paragraph of your letter, you wrote:

“…It is not clear what basis Simbulan is using to claim that families in the income range cited
(those earning 81,000 – 135,000 annually) are not ‘rich enough’ (to pay 300 pesos per unit)…”

Madame President, it is not clear to you because you are confusing yourself with excessively complicated economic concepts like “absolute poverty”, “relative poverty”, and “official poverty threshold”. Evidently, you do not understand the concept of “official poverty threshold” (estimated at 74,798 pesos for 2004 by NSCB, you claim) because it involves many parameters-for example, you did not specify whether the estimate is for a single, dead person.

Madame President, allow me to make things clear for you, with my simple housewife arithmetic.

Is it too much to spend 30 pesos, on the average, for a meal? Assumming we have 3 meals a day, that amounts to P 90 x 30 = 2,700 a month. For a family of 5, that adds up to spending P 2,700
x 5 = P 13,500 per month on food alone.

Thus in a year, a frugal family easily spends P 13,500 x 12 = P 162,000 just
on food. That does not include luxuries like milk and fruits for me and my growing children (I don’t want them to suffer from calcium deficiency and end up a hunchback like you. And
please, dont ask me to breastfeed my husband and adolescent children).

Madame President, allow me to point out that P 162,000 (a family of five’s annual expense on food) is way above the upper limit of income bracket D (P 81,000 – 135,000). Madame, I shall end my calculations here as things could become more complex for you to follow if we include expenses from rent, utilities, transportation, etc….

I find this newsletter so unfair to monkeys by calling you Emerchongga. They should instead call you Emerdense Roman.

Thank you so much for your time.

Mrs. Sandra P. Santos,
mother of Ma.Angelina P. Santos, BS Chemical Engineering.

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