Cotabato City (July 29, 2015) – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM’s) ‘Empowering the Bangsamoro Region through Active Community Engagements in the ARMM (EMBRACE-ARMM)’ program has granted financial assistance to scholars in Maguindanao province.More than a hundred beneficiaries received from the regional government stipend covering the first and second semesters for school year 2014-2015 on Tuesday, July 28, at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City. Half-merit scholars received P10,000 while full-merit scholars received P20,000.
John Louie Balagot, ARMM’s deputy executive secretary and concurrent EMBRACE-ARMM program manager, said the regional government earmarked a total of P24 million for the scholarship and as of this month, it has assisted 1,539 students across the region.
Checks were handed over by Balagot; Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., ARMM’s chief of staff; Jo Guro, financial management officer of the Commission on Higher Education- ARMM; and Atty. Kirby Abdullah, assistant secretary for Maguindanao convergence.
The scholarship program dubbed ‘Academic Investment for Muslim Mindanao’ (AIMM) is known in the past as ‘Iskolar: Para sa Pagbabago, Para sa Bangsamoro’. It aims at helping underprivileged students pursue college degrees. All valedictorian high school graduates from public and private schools in the region are eligible to avail of AIMM scholarship.
“The scholarship grant is part of ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman’s commitment to help poor but deserving students in the region especially those living in conflict-affected communities,” said Balagot. He said that it is up to the beneficiary to choose the course and school he, or she, wants to study at and that the program is closely monitoring the scholar’s performance.
“We are very thankful to the ARMM government since this scholarship program helps us a lot, especially to me because my parents can’t send me to school,” Sittie Haya Naga, a 22-year old scholar from Capiton, Datu Odin Sinsuat, said in the vernacular. Naga, is a third year student at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College taking up Bachelor of Science in Public Administration.
Abdilla Gintawan, a 46-year-old farmer from Mamasapano, Maguindanao and father of Saguira Gintawan, a recipient of a scholarship, said he commends the efforts of the regional government in helping poor families.
“We are still fixing the schedule of the distribution of checks in other provinces such as Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” Balagot said. (Bureau of Public Information)