WHAT will happen to at least 1,370 beneficiaries of the Provincial Government's Paglaum scholarship grant under the leadership of Gov. Gwen Garcia?
In an interview Friday, July 5, 2019, Garcia said she will take a closer look on the matter.
"I still need to study that. If we have to choose the beneficiaries of our scholarships, there should be a clearly defined selection process and clearly defined qualifications so that we will not be accused of using the program for politicking," she said.
Established in 2016, the Paglaum scholarship grant was created through an ordinance authored by former vice governor Agnes Magpale. The program is implemented by the Provincial Women's Commission.
For this school year, the Capitol is giving out 300 additional slots on top of the 1,373 scholars currently benefitting from the program.
The Provincial Government has set aside P20 million to shoulder the needs of its Paglaum scholars.
A Paglaum scholar receives a tuition assistance of P10,000 and a monthly stipend of P1,500.
All low-income students in Cebu Province, whether or not they have an exemplary performance in high school, may qualify.
Beneficiaries may be indigents; victims of crimes such as rape, drug abuse or human trafficking, among others; and children of drug dependents, dysfunctional families, solo parents and those whose parents are deceased.
During her earlier stint as governor, Garcia said there was the Cebu Tertiary Education Assistance Program (CTEAP), which allowed the Province to provide educational assistance to poor but deserving college students.
The CTEAP provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees to those who belong to the top 10 high school graduates. The program used to accommodate 150 to 190 graduates every year.
But with the full implementation of the K to 12 program in June 2016, the Province temporarily suspended accepting college scholars for the CTEAP.
In 2018, the Provincial Board (PB) passed an amendatory ordinance revising certain provisions of the CTEAP legislation.
The ordinance provides that while a maximum of five scholars per component city or municipality shall be chosen, graduates from barangay high schools will be prioritized.
Those who wish to take up degree programs related to agriculture, engineering, robotics, mecha-tronics and information technology are preferred.
"That was the CTEAP scholarship. There was no politicking, no favoritism. It had a clearly spelled out requirements and process of selection," she said.
In another development, three appointees of former governor and now Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III were reassigned to other Capitol offices and detailed to some local government units effective Thursday, July 4, until further notice.
Affected appointees were Provincial General Services (PGSO) chief Jone Siegfred Sepe, Provincial Assessor Alma Sibonga and Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena.
Although not an appointee of the Davide administration, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) head Marivic Garces was also reassigned by the governor.
According to Garcia, Sepe was detailed to the Municipality of Barili after its officials sought the Capitol's assistance for an inventory of all its movable and immovable properties. PGSO assistant head Bernard Calderon will serve as the department's officer-in-charge (OIC).
Saragena was also detailed to the Municipality of Pinamungajan upon the town’s request for assistance on the development of a nursery and to "revitalize" its tilapia culture. Aquaculturist Aylen Cielo will sit as OIC of the Provincial Agriculture Office.
Sibonga, on the other hand, was reassigned to the Capitol's I-Tax, while Mariflor Vero will serve as OIC of the Provincial Assessor's Office.
Garces was reassigned to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO).
PDRRMO chief Baltazaar Tribunalo, an appointee of Davide, will remain in his department.
"He's (Tribunalo) still there. I just reassigned Marivic to PDRRMO because I think they can work more closely together," Garcia said.
For now, local disaster officer Wilson Ramos will serve as PSWDO OIC.
As to how long the OICs, reassigned and detailed personnel will stay in their new offices, Garcia replied: "It depends on when the need is addressed. We don't have a specific timeframe because we understand that it's an evolving thing, especially since we can't foresee the need."