EXCLUSIVE: Student’s cooling off mistaken for suicide attempt

Medics did not handle her well, she tells [P]

Amid circulating rumors of a student attempting to jump off the Narra Bridge, commonly known as the “Never Ending Bridge,” on March 21, a student came forward to the UPLB Perspective, saying she might be the one who people think tried to jump from the bridge, but was prevented from doing so by medical personnel.

In an interview on Wednesday, March 22, the student, who requested anonymity for this story, clarified that she was not attempting to jump off Narra Bridge.

The student explained that at past 3pm, she went to Narra Bridge to cool off, as she was feeling angry and sad at the time. Couple of minutes later, she saw an ambulance stopping near her. Medical personnel then alighted from the ambulance and attempted to hold her by the arms.

Citing the instinct of “stranger danger,” she refused to go with them. “Na-trauma ako. I didn’t think they did their best job,” said the student after the medical personnel insisted that she go inside the ambulance.

The medical personnel later offered to bring her to her dorm. She recalled leaving them and going towards the Student Union Building where she claimed she cried to her orgmates who were there. However, she said, the ambulance still followed her up until the DL Umali Auditorium.

How the rumor spread

“Nagulat ako sa Twitter,” she said when asked what she felt after seeing the reactions on social media. The student later clarified that she declined to be brought to neither the UHS nor any other hospital.

She also came forward to the UPLB Perspective because she felt that the time frame of what happened to her coincided with the time frame of the alleged attempted suicide incident.

Reports of the alleged incident started in the afternoon of March 21, when a certain Boy Bato posted on Facebook that someone jumped off Palma Bridge. He later retracted his earlier story and said that it happened at the bridge near the Main Library, the Narra or “Never Ending” Bridge. In the comments, Boy Bato said that he personally saw it.

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Screenshot of Boy Bato’s post

“Kasi galing ako UPF [University Police Force] dahil dun sa lisensya fiasco ko. So pag[ka]tapos nung meeting, may mga tao sa labas na [yun] na nga, may tatalon daw sa bridge, So dumaan ako. Ayun, may pulis on the scene na papaunta when it happened.” Boy Bato said in the comments section of his post.

Shortly afterwards, Boy Bato deleted the said post and deactivated his account.

Since then, social media, especially Twitter, went abuzz with news of someone jumping off the Narra Bridge.

However, no report of the alleged incident was recorded in the blotter of the UPF, UPLB Perspective has learned. This was also confirmed by Security Guard (SG III) Mervin Valencia, who was the investigator on duty that night, stating that it was only hearsay.

Tecson Pua, a BS Mathematics student, asked the official Facebook page of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) about the veracity of the alleged incident that same night. The conversation with the office was posted on his Twitter account the next morning, March 22.

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Screenshot courtesy of Tecson Pua

“The University Health Service (UHS) reported a student who tried to jump from the bridge this pm but was prevented from doing so,” OVCCA said in their reply to Pua. The OVCCA also stated that the student was “brought to the UHS safe [sic] for appropriate action.” They also cited the hiring of “a consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Palis, to… deal specifically with suicidal cases” among  the university’s students.

The consultant psychiatrist being referred to is Dr. Alexandra Jean Palis.

UHS is unable to confirm OVCCA’s claim in the latter’s reply to Pua about anyone who tried to commit suicide being brought to the medical facility that day.

OVCCA has not responded to UPLB Perspective’s messages as of press time.

“HOPE” Forum

A reply to Pua’s screen cap posted on Twitter was Office of the Chancellor (OC) Memorandum No. 042 Series of 2017, dated March 16. The memo was an invitation to “HOPE: Health Orientation to Problems from Emotional Stress,” organized by the Office of Student Affairs (OSA). The event aims to provide an orientation about problems from emotional stress. Dr. Palis serves as one of the speakers in the said event.

A scanned copy memorandum was sent via email by the OC to the university’s units and college on March 22, a day after rumors of the alleged incident circulated around campus. The College Secretary’s Office (CSO) of the College of Human Ecology (CHE) reposted the scanned memorandum on its Facebook account. The same copy of the memorandum shared by the CHE CSO was tweeted by Pua. [P]

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