University of the Philippines (UP) President Angelo Jimenez instituted a task force “to review and take immediate and long-term actions on student accommodations across the UP System.”

This is following the death of UP Diliman College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) student Alexis Mae “Leki” Aquilino who died in a fire that broke at Barangay Krus na Ligas in Quezon City last February 9.

“As the University prepares to return to face-to-face classes, the importance of providing more living spaces in UP’s campuses must be underscored,” the University said in a statement.

“Accommodations on campus provide peer-to-peer support and can direct students to support and well-being services when needed. They also help foster a strong sense of community through a range of social events and cultural activities, as well as practical support,” it added.

While expressing his sympathies to the Aquilino family, Jimenez vowed to work with Chancellors “to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

UP CSWCD Dean Lenore Polotan-Dela Cruz joined those who mourn Aquilino’s death.

“Leki demonstrated such dynamism, commitment, and compassion, which makes this untimely passing even more heartbreaking. We have lost someone who exemplifies the College’s vision of transforming society in solidarity with those who are marginalized,” Polotan-Dela Cruz said.

“We have been coordinating closely with Leki’s family, to ensure they receive the support they need in this time of great sadness and difficulty. Members and partners of the CSWCD community who wish to extend financial assistance to the family may course their support through the College.”

A memorial was held on Wednesday, February 15 for Aquilino at CSWCD’s Bulwagang Tandang Sora. It was attended by classmates, friends, teachers, and University officials, including Jimenez and UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Louise Jashil Sonido.

At UP Diliman, the Office of Student Housing (OSH) manages 13 dormitories on campus which provide affordable accommodations for underprivileged students and students from far provinces.

Due to limited slots, OSH previously said it could not accommodate all qualified applicants in the residence halls.

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