Mildred Oroc, 19, is a second year commerce student, major in human resource development management at the University of Cebu (UC). She has been a scholar-beneficiary of the Cebu Provincial Government’s Paglaum Scholarship Program for a year now.
The second among five siblings from a farmer couple in Barangay Canorong, Ginatilan, Cebu, Mildred recalled her hard school life before she got accepted as a Paglaum scholar.
“Nagpa-maid ko ug maglakaw ra ko sa UC abot sa Labangon (I worked as a housemaid and had to walk from UC to Barangay Labangon),” she said, adding that she had to do it to save money for her school projects.
She also tried selling maja blanca (a delicacy) during break time to augment her allowance.
Her P2,000 monthly salary as a housemaid is not enough to pay for her P19,000 plus tuition. She also had to ask help from his father for her enrollment fee.
“Makabaligya intawon siya og hayopan (He was forced to sell his livestock),” she said.
With the help of the Capitol’s Paglaum, life is a bit easier now, she said.
“Dako kayo ang tabang sa Paglaum karon kay dili na ko magbayad sa akong whole tuition kay ang Paglaum naman ang mobayad sa half (The scholarship program is a great help as I no longer have to pay for the whole tuition because Paglaum takes care of the half),” she said, referring to the P10,000 tuition subsidy shouldered by Paglaum.
The remaining amount of her tuition, she said, is sourced from her salary as a part-time sales crew of a food stall in the downtown Colon St.
“Ako lang ‘tong data-datahan everytime mo-sweldo ko (I’m paying the remaining amount through installment basis, whenever I get my salary),” said Mildred.
Mildred said that she also no longer worries about where to source money for her school projects and fares as the P1,500 allowance from Paglaum is enough to cover for these needs.
Vice Gov. Agnes A. Magpale said that Paglaum was established and launched in 2016 through an ordinance.
With a budget of P1 million, the program started with only 143 scholars.
“It is the only scholarship grant that accepts the not-so-bright, poor but willing to study college students,” said Magpale.
The number of beneficiaries grew in 2017 with the additional 567 students accepted for the program, making the total number of scholars to 710. A budget of P10 million was allocated for them.
For the first semester of this year, the program, which has a budget allocation of P10 million, accepted 663 more scholars, bringing the total number of scholars to 1,373.
“Bisan pobre ta, pobre man jud ang atong ginikanan, ayaw lang jud kawad-i og paglaum. Kay naa jud programa ang Kapitolyo na makatabang nato,” Mildred said.
Education is among the priorities of the administration of Gov. Hilario P. Davide and Magpale under its Six-Key Development Agenda geared towards its goal: Kalambuan sa Matag Sugbuanon.