Davao City – Some 943 graduates who are grantees under the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) were awarded the Certificate of Recognition during the special ceremonies held in Davao Oriental and Davao Del Norte recently.

This year’s ceremony was anchored on the theme “Araw ng Pagkilala, Ituwid ang Kabataan sa mas Maunlad na Kinabukasan.”

Two ESGP-PA grantees made it to the top. Jessabeth Creta finished her studies as magna cum laude with a degree in Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Biological Sciences while Aivan Carl E. Guisok  graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in English.

“We commend our graduates for making it this far. Learn to transform your academic skills in the professional world. Chase your dreams. Never stop trying. Never stop learning. The journey of life brings both challenges and chances. May you carry your spirit to snatch the chances and beat the challenges,” Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat challenged them during the graduation ceremony.

The ESGPPA is implemented by the Commission on Higher Education together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

The program provides opportunities to Pantawid families that have children who are determined to pursue college education and qualify for the scholarship. A college degree for the children-beneficiaries opens an opportunity for them to access better employment and help them improve their lives.

“Through the program, we have given these poor children as well as their families a fighting chance to an improved quality of life and this may not be also possible without the support of our key partners,” Director Jabagat added.

Beneficiaries of the program are required to take up courses that are among those identified with the national development plans manpower demands. These include Information Technology (IT)-related courses in agriculture, education, science and math, and engineering and health sciences-related courses.

“Being part of ESGP-PA is really a great blessing for me. I am challenged to study well since I believe this is the only thing I can do in order not to waste the opportunity that was given to me. This scholarship helps me achieve what I had dreamed of because I can focus well on my studies and lessons since I don’t have to bother myself where to find cash for my tuition fee,” Magna Cum Laude from Davao Del Norte State College Jessabeth Creta said during the Araw ng Pagkilala.

Jessabeth is a proud daughter of a tricycle driver and she is now taking a review class for the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET).

“Let us reap what we planted and taste the delight it offers. Share it with our parents for above all, they’re the proudest of our achievements. They never gave up amidst poverty and even labored day and night to fight back and support us in any way. Let us also not forget the government who supported us throughout our four years of schooling,” Cum Laude Dachel April Ladera of Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOCST) urged fellow graduates.

For Davao Region, there are 2 Magna Cum Laude and 42 Cum Laude achievers from the different partner schools and universities (SUCs).

ESGP-PA aims to contribute to the National Government’s thrusts in effectively addressing poverty by increasing the number of graduates in higher education among poor households and to get these graduates employed in high value added occupations in order to lift their families out of poverty and contribute to national development. (DSWD)