By Mariela Angella Oladive
A groundbreaking social service program was launched in Iloilo City Saturday by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez to benefit disadvantaged students and the youth in the country.
“Sa utos ng ating mahal na Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. at sa pakikipagtulungan ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno, inilunsad natin ang ISIP para sa Kabataan. Layon ng programang ito na tulungan ang mga karapat-dapat na estudyante na kapos sa pondo para makapagpatuloy sa de-kalidad na edukasyon,” Speaker Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives, said in his keynote speech during the launch of the project in collaboration with the Office of Iloilo City Lone District Rep. Jam Baronda.
The Integrated Scholarships and Incentives Program (ISIP) for the Youth, an initiative of the Office of the Speaker in partnership with the Marcos administration was pilot-launched Saturday at the West Visayas State University Cultural Center in Iloilo City.
It was mounted in partnership with the Office of Rep. Baronda, Uswag Ilonggo partylist Rep. James “Jojo” Ang Jr., and the Office of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.
“This initiative is in collaboration with several government agencies to assist disadvantaged but deserving students facing financial challenges in pursuing their studies. Remember, when our students graduate, they become productive members of society and contribute to nation-building,” Romualdez added.
Present during the historic activity were Rep. Julienne “Jam-”Jam” Baronda, Uswag Ilonggo Rep. James “Jojo” Ang Jr. as well as Ms. Raisa Treñas-Chu, who represented Mayor Jerry Treñas at the event.
“We are very happy that Speaker Romualdez chose Iloilo City as the pilot-launch area of ISIP for the Youth. Not only will this help ensure that each student-beneficiary will receive assistance including the parents until they graduate and find a job, but this will redound to the alleviation of the lives of these Ilonggo families once these ISIP scholars become professionals. So, we deeply appreciate Speaker Romualdez for making sure that the love of the government for its people is felt and enjoyed by the Ilonggos. We will never forget this,” Rep. Baronda said.
Also present to show their support were 2nd District Rep. Michael Gorriceta, 3rd District Rep. Lorenz Defensor, 5th District Rep. Raul Tupas, Negros Occidental Rep. Kiko Benitez, CHED Chair Prospero De Vera, CHED UNIFAST Exec. Dir. Ryan Estevez, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Terence Calatrava, WVSU Pres. Joselito Villaruz, DSWD-6 Regional Director Carmelo Nochete, CHED-6 Regional Director Raul Alvarez, Iloilo Board Member Binky Tupas, PNP-6 Regional Director B/Gen. Sidney Villaflor, ICPO Director Col. Joeresty Coronica, Coun. Urminico Baronda Jr., Councilor Irene Ong, Executive Assistant Love Baronda, District Presidents of the Association of Barangay Captains in Iloilo City, and other regional and city officials.
ISIP is a financial assistance initiative for students in high school, Alternative Learning System, tertiary levels and vocational education institutions.
A total of 3,000 students under the program in the City and Province of Iloilo will receive P2,000 every six months through the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD’s) Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) to cover tuition and other expenses.
The qualified beneficiaries are also recipients of the Tulong Dunong program of CHED, consisting of P15,000 pesos for one year which they will receive in January next year.
These students are also assured slots under the Government Internship Program (GIP) after graduation, and their parents or guardians will be enrolled in the TUPAD Program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), making it a comprehensive project benefiting both the students and their families.
“This is to ensure that these students will eventually become our partners in nation-building. Nakakagana pong mag-aral pag alam mong may internship ka sa gobyerno pagka-graduate mo,” Speaker Romualdez said.
ISIP for the Youth is a convergence project with DSWD, DoLE, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Two ISIP scholars won a motorcycle each during the raffle while 20 won laptop computers, 20 tablets, 20 printers, and 20 smartphones, which they can use for their studies.
WHAT IS ISIP?
Iloilo City was the first to witness the transformative initiative that aims to support 13,000 indigent students across the Philippines.
Under the program, deserving beneficiaries are eligible for a P15,000 annual grant through the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)’s “Tulong Dunong” scholarship program until they graduate.
Additionally, students will receive P2,000 each semester through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s Assistance in Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS). They will also be prioritized for the Government Internship Program, enhancing their employment prospects, and exposing them to various professions.
Not only the students but also parents or guardians of student-recipients may receive assistance through the livelihood support program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), called the “Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers” (TUPAD).
There is no requirement to maintain a certain grade, the scholarship will continue as long as the student has no failing grades.
Romualdez emphasized the program’s significance in providing opportunities to deserving learners, enabling them to contribute to the country’s development.
Beneficiaries of the program shared their gratitude, underscoring the significant impact the program has had on their educational pursuits.
Rona Mae Silva, a first-year education student majoring in Science at Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U), shared how the program has been a significant support for her, particularly since she comes from a poor family.
“This financial support is already a big help, like covering my allowance for several days,” Silva shared with Daily Guardian.
Fran, a freshman Nursing student at West Visayas State University, echoed similar sentiments. “It’s a huge help, considering we have many expenses like our uniforms, and there are also other fees,” he remarked.
In an interview, CHED chairman Prospero de Vera III shed light on the increased number of scholars due to additional funding from Congress and CHED’s budget.
“Dinagdagan ng kongreso at also sa budget ng CHED yung dami ng scholars. We will have more beneficiaries this year,” he said, explaining further the difference in the approach now wherein he has given instructions to the regional offices to fast-track the release of Tulong Dunong and conduct public payouts, reflecting a proactive stance to ensure swift and efficient disbursement of scholarships under the current administration.
Mayor Trenas expressed his gratitude and joy towards Speaker Romualdez for providing financial aid to scholars in Iloilo. Raisa Trenas, speaking on behalf of the mayor, emphasized the positive impact of such initiatives on the local community.
The ISIP for the Youth is a convergence project involving the Department of Social Welfare (DSWD), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).