Pantawid Pamilya grantee Crizzamae Manreal finished Cum Laude at Southern Philippines Agri-Business, Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST).

MALITA, Davao Occidental (DSWD XI) –Success belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Pantawid beneficiary Crizzamae Manreal, 20, believes in this.

Finishing the course Bachelor in Secondary Education majoring in Biological Science, Crizzamae Manreal received the highest honors as Cum Laude during the recent 30th commencement exercises of Southern Philippines Agri-Business, Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST).

“All of these became possible through Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program which began for us 2012,” Manreal said.

Like any Pantawid beneficiary, she experienced difficulties in life. Her mother tends to their home while her father is a farmer. It never occurred to them that anyone in the family could reach college. Yet the sheer hardship has been her driving force to finish her studies.

“I never expected that I can still pursue my college degree because I know my parents could not afford my tuition fee. But then Students’ Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA) came. My yesterday’s dream became a reality big time,” Manreal shared.

Wala gyud nako gisayangan ang oportunidad nga gihatag sa akoa, nagtarong ko ug naningkamot nga i-angat akoang sarili para mas ikalipay sa akoang pamilya (I never wasted the opportunity given me. I did good and worked hard to be better to make my family happy).”

Manreal did excel in her studies and even in extra-curricular activities. Despite her rather hectic schedule, she found time to earn from odd jobs to augment her meager finances.

Meanwhile, Gee Phannie Coscos, of the same degree, also a Pantawid grantee and SGP-PA scholar, finished with flying colors too as Cum laude.

“We hope this program will help more indigent students to finish a college degree and make their dreams come true as well,” Coscos said.

They are both products of the Pantawid Pamilya Program and are both very grateful and overwhelmed of the benefits and accolades they received.

The two outstanding students are part of 503 Pantawid college graduates recognized during the regional graduation ceremony dubbed Social Investiture for National Achievers of Grants-In-Aid (SINAG) held in Panabo City on Friday.

Manreal and Coscoc hope to get a job soon so that they can help their family and finance the school needs of their siblings.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) spearheaded the SGP-PA in 2012.

With a total of 3139 SGP-PA graduates this year nationwide, Davao Region leads with the highest number of 503 graduates. Of this figure, 68 are from SPAMAST.

A student-grantee receives a maximum of P 60,000.00 scholarship grant per school year or P 30,000.00 per semester. This is broken down to P 20, 000/year Tuition Fee Cost, P 5,000/year Textbook Fees and other learning materials, and P 35,000 (that is, P 3,500/month x 10 months) stipend (for board and lodging, transportation, clothing, health/medical needs, basic school supplies and other related costs. (DSWD)