DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/7 February)—At least 100 scholarship slots are available for indigenous peoples (IPs) from the departments of Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture and Health and from the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), an Ata official said.
In an interview Friday in Paquibato, Datu Jose Amban, chair of Paquibato’s indigenous political structure, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has asked him for recommendations of students who are qualified for scholarships.
The priority scholars should come from the beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), he said, without giving a figure.
Amban said that Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also sought his recommendation for 100 scholars who are willing to take up agriculture courses.
The Department of Health is also looking for one student beneficiary who would take up a medical course at the Davao Medical School Foundation, he said.
Amban said the NCIP is also looking for IP students to support financially through its education assistance program.
The NCIP can provide P10,000 monthly allowance for students with a grade average of 83% and above.
According to Amban, the literacy-seeking behavior of students in the district had risen over the years due to access to elementary schools and a desire to make a better life for themselves.
However, this was limited to elementary education, with many parents no longer pursuing higher education for their children because of low income.
The average three-month income for each family of three to five was P5,000, Amban said.
The scholarships provide an opportunity for students who want to continue studying but do not have the means to go to colleges in nearby Davao del Norte and Davao City proper.
In the past, Amban said there’s a problem of looking for students who could fill up the scholarship slots from the IP sector because of a lack of desire to finish schooling.
However, the figures have changed over the years, with around 80% of the IPs now getting education, Amban said.
There are around 14,700 Ata IPs in Davao City, data from the indigenous peoples political structure, the largest governing body of the IPs in the district. (MindaNews)