By Jennifer T. Pambid, PGIN-CMO
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is set to partner with the provincial government of Ilocos Norte’s (PGIN) Sirib Express, a voluntary youth organization in the province, to bring scholarship assistance to students who are overseas Filipino workers’ dependents.
OWWA Family Welfare Officer Nona Marie Ganal said that the scholarship programs target third year (incoming fourth year) high school students and fourth year high school (incoming first year college) students whose parents’ monthly salary does not exceed US $400.
Ganal said OWWA have been offering these programs in the previous years but only a few from Ilocos Norte avail of them due to lack of information dissemination.
“Matagal na po ito na programa, we go to schools, dissemination din. Kaya lang kasi hindi ma-grasp ng bata kung ano ba talaga yung para sa kanila… ‘Saka lang (sila) mag-aapply, saka lang nila maaalala kung inactive na (o nahihirapan na) yung tatay o nanay na nagtatrabaho abroad.”
Ganal believes that teaming up with Sirib Express, which holds campus tours around the province to bring the services of the PGIN closer to Ilocano youth, is an effective way to make students aware of such scholarship programs and most importantly to provide deserving students opportunities to study.
“Ang kagandahan kasi dito sa province natin, yung all-out support ni governor, makikita mo, (kasi) kulang tayo sa dissemination,” Ganal emphasized.
Governor Imee Marcos is keen in supporting the empowerment of Ilocano youth through providing quality education, believing that the youth has a great contribution towards the inclusive development of the province.
Through the Provincial Education Department, deserving students are given incentives under the Iskolar ni Manang Imee Program.
The scholarships offered by OWWA are a great addition to the scholarship programs for Ilocano youth who aspire to attain education.
The programs for OFW dependents include the following:
Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) which offers a maximum of Php 60,000 per school year, leading to a four-to-five year baccalaureate course in any college or university;
OFW Dependents Scholarship Program (OFWDSP) which offers a maximum of Php 20,000 per school year, leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree in a state college or university;
Education and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) which provides scholarship for survivors of deceased OFWs consisting Php 5,000 for elementary, Php 8,000 for high school, Php 10,000 for college (per school year) and Php 15,000 for the surviving spouse;
Skills-for-Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) which offers Php 14,500 assistance per course for attendance to short-term training program leading to the completion of a vocational and technical course in any TESDA-accredited schools.
In order to qualify, Ganal said beneficiaries should maintain good grades.
“Marami sa La Union and nearby provinces, now we are targeting Ilocos Norte. Sana madami tayong makuha,” Ganal said, counting 11 scholars for OFWDSP, 8 for SESP, 1 for EDSP, and 7 for ELAP in Ilocos Norte at present.
OWWA, the government welfare institution that protects and promotes the interest of member-OFW, also offers education and training benefits for OFWs including social benefits, Workers Welfare Assistance Program, Repatriation Program and Reintegration Program.#