City’s scholars fear ‘dropping studies’ amid budget row

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Thursday, January 16, 2014


WITH the further delay of the approval of this year’s executive budget, the possibility that hundreds of Cagayan de Oro City Government’s academic scholars will not finish their studies continues to hound them.

Samaria Macalabang and Desiree Pamin, who are recipients of the city college scholarship program (CCSP), are apprehensive that they may have to stop their studies if the City Council will further prolong the deliberation of the executive budget.

Macabalang is a 3rd year student taking up Bachelor of Science in Education at Xavier University, while Pamin is a senior Business Administration student at Liceo de Cagayan University. They are among the 627 city scholars currently enrolled in various tertiary schools in the city.

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City council data shows that tuition fees to beneficiaries regardless of school will be shouldered by the City Government plus a monthly allowance of P1,000 for the 518 beneficiaries from the rural villages, while the 109 from the urban barangays are receiving P500 a month.

Both Macalabang and Pamin come from low income families and are banking only on their scholarship in order to graduate and land better paying jobs.

Macalabang’s father is a passenger ‘barker’ at the westbound terminal in Bulua and her mother doesn’t work.

She considers the scholarship a big help since she gets to study in a prestigious school.

The third among seven siblings, she considers finishing her degree to help her family to live a little better and send siblings to school.

Should the 2014 executive budget be disapproved, Macalabang fears she might not be able to graduate next year.

Macalabang also heard from their scholarship adviser the possibility that their scholarship might be cut next school year.

She hopes that the city council will consider the plight of the city scholars.

Pamin whose father is a carpenter while her mother is a household help expressed the same sentiments of Macalabang and other scholars.

Pamin is fortunate that she will graduate this March, but she is worried for the other scholars who may or may not be able to make it, especially those who just started school.

Pamin pities her fellow scholars knowing that they are also banking on the city scholarship grant, which is very difficult to avail.

Pamin is grateful of her scholarship as her dream to finish school is already within reach. Soon, as she graduates, she will put up an eatery for her mother who is good at cooking.

“With the eatery, my mother will no longer take care of other people’s house, focus na lang siya sa amo,” Pamin added.

P25-M 2014 scholarship budget

According to Gilda Takiang, the CCSP coordinator for this year, the present administration allotted P25 million for the 627 scholars.

The students are enrolled in 12 colleges and universities in the city.

Takiang said the CCSP also enrolled 111 beneficiaries for vocational courses at the various branches of the Asian Business Cabletow Cooperative Academy (ABCCA), Vineyard International Polytechnic College, Golden Heritage, STI and SPC.

However, only 130 will graduate this March as others are taking up five-year engineering courses.

Takiang said the budget for the scholars is a big help in the tuition and other fees of the beneficiaries and for the incoming scholars.

Since there will be around 130 graduating scholars in March 2014, part of the budget will be allotted for incoming scholars.

Takiang said it is her job to ensure that scholars come from a low income family with an average grade of 85 percent.

“These existing scholars have undergone series of profiling and background investigation before they became beneficiaries of the city government,” Takiang said.

The scholars plan to visit the City Council and urge them to consider the approval of the 2014 executive budget.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 16, 2014.

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