MORE than 3,000 scholars gathered at the Capitol grounds Tuesday, February 14, not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but to thank Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano for his scholarship program for the poor.

The students under the "Iskolar Ko Ni Bambi" (INKB) program came for its 10th general assembly.

The scholars showed different performances, played various games and competitions while some alumni of the program expressed their deep gratitude to the governor.

The Provincial Capitol has also set a job fair for successful scholars who have remained unemployed.

Archie Gabe, 28, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Fisheries in Mindanao State University-Naawan, said he was thankful to the program spearheaded by Emano.

Speaking before the present scholars, Gabe said he took poverty as his inspiration to pursue education and achieve his aspirations in life.

After graduating last 2013, Gabe was able to work in a poultry business and internet cafe operation. He said he is planning to apply at the Provincial Capitol this time.

"Dako kaayo akong pasalamat ni Governor Bambi ug akong tambag sa mga batan-on, kung naa mo madungog nga mga program sama ini, kinahanglan i-grab ang opportunity," Gabe said.

Emano told the crowd of scholars that the program was inspired during his mayorship in Tagoloan town where he saw his constituents working under the heat of the sun while foreign workers enjoyed the comfortable offices in one of the companies in the area.

"Nagdahom ko nga maplastar ang mga Tagoloanon sa usa ka dakong kompanya apan tungod sa kakulang sa kwalipikasyon, nakita nako nga nainitan ug nagpiko pala ang mga Tagoloanon ug nag-antos sa kainit sa adlaw (I dream of the people in Tagoloan to have a stable job in a big company but because of lack of qualifications, I saw them suffering under the heat of the sun)," Emano said.

This has prompted the governor to build the Tagoloan Community College to provide education among the young people in the town.

"Mao kini ang atong damgo nga mapa-eskwela ang atong mga katawhan ug makapahimulos sa pagpanarbaho sa mga kompanya dinhi sa lalawigan (This is our dream, to send our people to school and get jobs in companies in the province)," Emano said.

Since the start of the IKNB in 2007, the beneficiaries have reached to nearly 20,000 scholars.

At present, the program covers 3,689 scholars studying in different colleges and universities in Misamis Oriental, 3,173 of whom are getting degree courses while 516 are taking vocational courses.