EVERY time I visit our ancestral home in Barangay Alabang, Muntinlupa City, I cannot help but notice a huge street sign near the Alabang viaduct which reads: Bawat bata sa Muntinlupa nag-aaral.
The non-Muntinlupeño passerby would probably dismiss it as another epal attempt by a self-aggrandizing politician. But city residents know better.
For indeed, the poster is true in every sense. It genuinely captures Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi's vision of "A Muntinlupa City where no child is out of school, every Muntinlupeño has access to free education, and every stakeholder has an opportunity to realize his/her aspirations through comprehensive and inclusive scholarship programs."
To actualize his vision, Fresnedi, who was recently re-elected to a third mayoral term, has embarked on a two-pronged strategy:
One: An ambitious Build...Build...Build... program of schools and classrooms and
Two: Launching one of the most comprehensive scholarship and incentives program ever undertaken by a local government unit.
The first has resulted in the adequacy of classrooms in most public schools in Muntinlupa, enabling the schools to implement a single shifting of classes starting this school year.
Among the schools now on a single shift are the following:
* Muntinlupa National High School (Junior High and Senior High) -- the largest public secondary school in Muntinlupa with over 5,429 enrollees
* Muntinlupa Science High School -- Junior High and Senior High
* Cupang Senior High School
* Victoria Elementary School
* Bayanan Elementary School Unit 1
* Itaas Elementary School
The City Government is also targeting more school buildings for completion within the year in the following:
* Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa
* Colegio de Muntinlupa -- the city's school of engineering
* Lakeview Integrated School
In an unprecedented move, the City Government recently purchased a private school (Sacred Heart Institute) so its facilities can augment those of the adjacent Muntinlupa Elementary School in Barangay Poblacion.
The City Government also recently completed the construction of Museo ng Muntinlupa designed to instill among the youth an appreciation of the city's cultural heritage.
Meanwhile, the city's scholarship and incentives program continues to benefit approximately 65,000 students in all school levels -- from elementary to college, including tech-voc, graduate, medicine and law courses.
Early this year, the Muntinlupa City Government distributed free school uniforms and school supplies to an estimated 48,680 grade schoolers under the 2019 Balik Eskwela Program.
Students in public schools in Muntinlupa receive regular stipends as follows:
* elementary school - P300/month
* junior high school - P400/month
* senior high school - P500/month
* state universities/colleges - P5,000/semester
* tech-voc - P5,000/semester
* college regular - under the Most Outstanding Students Program - P25,000 to P35,000/semester
In meritorious cases, stipends are also extended as follows:
* graduate school - P10,000/semester
* medicine/law - up to P30,000/semester
Additional incentives are also given for honors received, as follows: Elementary schools -- top 3 graduates (P10,000), top 4-6 (P7,500), top 7-10 (P5,000). Top performers in all other grade levels receive a cash incentive of P1,000.
Students enrolled at Colegio de Muntinlupa, Muntinlupa City Technical Institute and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa enjoy either full or partial scholarships.
Here is more. Muntinlupa residents who graduate with honors in their respective colleges or universities are entitled to receive cash incentives as follows: summa cum laude -- P20,000, magna cum laude -- P15,000, cum laude -- P10,000.
Last but not least, Muntinlupa residents who top the bar, board or other licensure examination are entitled to the following: No. 1 -- P100,000, No. 2-10 -- P25,000.
2018 bar examinations topnotchers Atty. Sean James Borja (No. 1) and Atty. Patricia Sevilla (No. 7) recently received cash incentives from the local government.
Borja, a Barangay Cupang resident, received P100,000, while Sevilla, a Barangay Sucat resident, received P25,000.
Rightly, Fresnedi has deservedly earned his monicker, The Education Mayor.
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