In the University of the Philippines, different forms of financial help are available to students. One such form of financial help is through student loans. A guarantor is required for a loan borrowed from the University. At the end of the semester, if the student is unable to pay up, the guarantor has to pay for the loan. Any UP employee could serve as a guarantor, but it is usually college teachers and professors who students are able to convince.
Recently, a poignant story is finding its way through blogs. It's a story of a graduating student who was guaranteed by a janitor named Mang Meliton. Here's how the story goes: she needed to enroll her last three subjects to be eligible for graduation, but her parents didn't have the money to support her last semester. Hoping for help from her college professors, she opted for a student loan. But her professors either refused or were not yet eligible. After two weeks of searching for a guarantor, she only had 24 hours left to pay for her matriculation. She felt devastated. Alone, she cried her heart out in the lobby of the College of Arts and Sciences building named Palma Hall (AS, for students of the University). Mop in hand, Mang Meliton approached her and asked why she was crying. The student told him her problem. He simply replied, "Puwede ako pumirma, empleyado ako ng UP." He took the forms and signed them. Mang Meliton was her savior. At the end of the semester, she fulfilled her end of the deal and paid for the loan.
The story does not end there, however. Mang Meliton recently retired only to find that he was only paid for 171 days out of those 45 years of serving the University faithfully. And the reason for that, was because there were students who were unable to pay up for their loans, hence, because he served as a guarantor, he paid for their debts.
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I am writing about this today in my blog as an appeal to fellow alumni and help one of the most noble retirees of our beloved University.