Bulacan Field Trip Tragedy News Update: BSU Violated CHEd Guidelines?

In 2012, the Commission on Higher Education issued CHEd Memorandum Order No. 17, the Guidelines on Educational Tours and Field Trips.

Bulacan Field Trip Tragedy
Screengrab from ABS-CBN's Bandila via YouTube
It appears that Bulacan State University (BSU) violated some provisions of the Order.

According to a report aired on primetime news program TV Patrol on Thursday, August 21, BSU did not inform the CHEd Regional Office III regarding the field trip.

Article 7, Section 16 of the Order states that:

HEIs [Higher Education Institutions] shall inform the CHEDROs on the nature of the educational tours and/or field trips to include purpose, schedule, destinations, cost and submit a report on the matter to the CHED Regional Offices concerned at least one month before the opening of classes for every academic year."

Mikhail Alcantara, Helena Marcelo, Sean Alejo, Michelle Ann Rose Bonzo, Jeanette Rivera, Madel Navarro, and Maiko Bartolome died in the tragic Bulacan field trip.

The group initially wanted to go to Mt. Manalmon in San Miguel town, but was advised by their guides not to proceed due to bad weather.

The excursionists were crossing the river from Madlum Cave on their way back to the tour bus when raging floodwaters swept them.

University officials reportedly admitted that only three teachers traveled with 150 students during the field trip.

Allegedly, they did not inform local officials about their outing. Had they done so, Sibul barangay captain Bogart Ligon said there could have been more tour guides who can help them.

Section 18 of said Order provides:

Security of the students should be the foremost responsibility of the higher education institutions concerned."

Latest updates on the Bulacan field trip tragedy say the BSU officials and involved faculty members could face criminal and administrative charges for the death of the students. Parents of the drowning victims want to sue them.

Netizens on social media also called for the immediate resignation of the three teachers and the university president for their negligence.