Telco magnate Manny Pangilinan tells young Filipinos how they can be richer than many others. (NPPA Images)

A business tycoon has joined calls to ensure broader access to state education, as he noted that both government and private sector "disappoint" young Filipinos who deserve to be in school.

Speaking to graduates of the Philippine Women's University Saturday, telecommunications magnate Manny Pangilinan said the death of Kristel Tejada should remind Filipinos of the importance of state education.

Pangilinan was referring to the 16-year-old behavioral science freshman at the University of the Philippines Diliman who took her own life Mar. 15, days after filing for leave of absence.

"I would not surmise, much less judge, the realities which drove this promising, young lady to take her own life.  I am sure things are more complex than we know," Pangilinan said.

He nonetheless added: "But of this we are certain--education should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few."

Tejada's death has sparked a heated debate on state education in the Philippines, with groups blaming strict tuition policies for worsening the student's financial woes.

Protests have meanwhile forced UP officials to lift its "no late payment" policy and vow for reforms in the state-run school's Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP).

But militants instead demanded a total repeal of the STFAP and an across-the-board tution rollback, along with the resignation of officials involved in Tejada's case.

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