MISAMIS Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano spent his Valentine's Day dating thousands of his scholars at a dome-like basketball gym in Tagoloan town on Wednesday, February 14.
Emano, who remains a bachelor and devoted half of his life in politics and public service, took a break off from his daily routine and spent time instead mingling with his 3,000 scholars.
These scholars are recipients of the Iskolar Ko Ni Bambi (IKNB) program, which is celebrating its 11th year.
IKNB provincial coordinator Jaira Lou Silos said the activity is not only a Valentine's Day celebration but a gathering of individuals who have been given a chance to continue their education.
"It is not just a Valentine's celebration. This is a one day nga panagtapok sa mga iskolar ni Governor Bambi from Magsaysay to Lugait," Silos said.
The celebration started with a holy mass, followed by several games and dance contest, as well as testimonies from successful beneficiaries.
Emano honored and commended the graduate scholars who also passed the different examinations.
Sandy Salise, one of the successful scholars from Opol, said he was able to achieve his dreams because of the program.
Salise thinks how his life would have been, with all the financial and other difficulties, if he did not pursue education.
"Ang IKNB ang naghatag og higayon sa kabus sama nako. Down kaayo ang akong pamilya pagkamatay sa akong papa apan gitabangan kami ni Governor Bambi ug iyang gibuhi among paglaom," Salise said.
Salise is now working as a supervisor of a shoe store inside a mall in the city and he plans to build a house for his mother and travel to places.
He also encouraged the present scholars to work hard and not to let go of the opportunities that may knock only once.
"Kayod gyud ta ug dili magtinapolan. Tungod sa financial assistance nga gihatag sa akoa nakatabang gyud og dako. Dili ko ka-graduate ug ma-successful kung dili tungod sa IKNB," Salise said.
The IKNB program was Emano's brainchild in 2007. Since then, it has already benefited some 19,600 individuals in the province.
The program basically opens the door for deserving students whose financial incapability impeded them to reach their aspirations in life.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 15, 2018.