GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 July) – Partylist group Youth Against Corruption and Poverty (YACAP) has allocated some P13.5 million for technical-vocational scholarships and hospitalization assistance for poor residents in South Cotabato province.
YACAP Partylist Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez said Wednesday her group has released an initial P3.5 million to the provincial government of South Cotabato to augment its hospitalization fund for indigent residents from the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
She said the funds were sourced from the partylist group’s congressional allocation.
“This is now available for use by indigent patients and we’re putting in an additional P5 million soon for this purpose,” Lopez announced during the opening of South Cotabato’s week-long T’nalak Festival and 45th foundation anniversary celebration.
The festivities formally opened in Koronadal City Wednesday morning following a grand civic parade and field demonstrations that were capped by a grand fireworks display.
Aside from the hospitalization fund, Lopez said they allocated some P5 million worth of scholarship assistance for “poor but deserving students” from the province who are taking up or planning to enroll in technical-vocational courses.
She said the scholarship assistance will be offered through the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
Under the program, Lopez said new and continuing students may avail of skills training scholarships that are being offered by TESDA-accredited institutions based in the province.
She said the scholarship slots would be prioritized for students coming from marginalized areas of South Cotabato.
“We’ve requested the school owners to go to the remotest part of the barangays in the area and introduce this program. So this time, our prospective scholars are no longer required to spend some money by going to General Santos City just to avail of the scholarship slots,” she said.
Lopez said their group is also establishing a mechanism that will allow their scholars to finish their four-year courses even beyond YACAP’s three-year term.
She said the mechanism will mainly ensure the allocation of enough funds for the entire four years of schooling of their scholars.
“We’re bringing our scholarship program to another level and beyond politics,” she said.
Aside from South Cotabato province, YACAP has opened its scholarship program to students in several parts of the country, including this city and nearby Sarangani province.
Lopez added that they prioritized South Cotabato for their hospitalization and scholarship program as a way of giving back to the 82,822 voters from the province who helped the group win a partylist seat at the House of Representatives for a second consecutive term during the May 2010 elections. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)