One hundred ninety-six (196) student beneficiaries from Midsayap, Tacurong and Cotabato City were awarded grant certificates for the school year 2016-2017 as part of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) – Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Study Grant Program during a series of workshops facilitated by the two agencies from 29 to 31 August 2017.
The event, entitled “INFO-EX: A Conversation with the 2016 OPAPP/PAMANA-CHED Student Grant Program Beneficiaries”, is part of the monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the program under the GPH-MNLF Peace Table to gather feedback from the beneficiaries to improve its implementation.
The workshops were conducted to convene the 2016 student grantees in Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX), Northern Mindanao (Region X), Davao Region (Region XI) and ARMM, and to provide an avenue for exchange of information between CHED and OPAPP as service providers, and the students as beneficiaries and implementation partners.
Among the concerns raised were the intricacies of the guidelines and the setbacks in the process of application for the assistance. CHED and the beneficiaries agreed to address them in a series of meetings after the event.
Gypsy Buisan, one of the grantees who is on her senior year taking up Bachelor of Arts and Communications in STI College, Cotabato City, extended her utmost gratitude and regarded the program as one of her milestones to realize her dreams.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa kanila (OPAPP) dahil isa ang OPAPP sa naging bridge kung ano at sino ako ngayon. Although hindi pa ako naka-graduate, alam ko na may pangarap ako at goal ako na dapat marating,” she affirmed in front of around 80 students who compose the 1st batch of beneficiaries for school year 2017-2018 in Cotabato CIty.
“I’m encouraging all na mag-aral nang mabuti dahil itong assistance na binibigay ng OPAPP ay malaking tulong sa pamilya ninyo. May lima akong kapatid and I am the eldest. Iyong perang naibibigay sa akin ng OPAPP ay ibinibigay ko sa parents ko dahil alam ko kung gaano kahirap kitain ang pera na pinang-aaral sa akin. As a grantee, please do your best na mag-aral nang mabuti at huwag mawala sa assistance ng OPAPP,” she urged.
On 4 April 2013, a Joint Memorandum Circular between OPAPP and CHED was signed for the implementation of the Study Grant Program. This was intended to financially aid the members of groups with existing peace agreements with the government or their next of kin for college education.
Under the same program, student grantees who are deemed qualified for the study grant will be provided with Php5000.00 per semester. From 2013 to 2016, a total of one thousand two hundred ninety (1,290) student beneficiaries attributed to the GPH-MNLF Peace were provided Php 10,000 per year to cover school expenses such as tuition, monthly living and book allowances.