Bontoc’s financial assistance to students to double next year

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The financial assistance of P2, 500.00 per semester provided by the Bontoc Municipal Government to every student- grantee will increase to P5, 000.00 per semester next year.

This, after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Mountain Province, approved Ordinance No. 305, s. 2018 entitled “The 2018 Revised Student Financial Assistance Ordinance of Bontoc, Mountain Province” sponsored by Sangguniang Bayan member Alsannyster F. Patingan who also chairs the Committee on Laws, and passed by the Sangguniang Bayan.

The august body supported the proposal of Atty. Patingan for the revision of the ordinance citing that despite the additional slots created in the ordinance and increase of the amount of financial assistance to P2, 500.00 per semester or P5, 000. 00 per year; there has been a noticeable drop in the number of students availing of the program and there are vacancies and non-utilization of some allotted slots per barangay.

It was also found out that the amount of financial assistance given to every student-grantee is deemed lower compared to the financial assistance provided by other agencies and offices. Thus, students prefer to apply to other agencies or institutions who offer the same financial assistance, but with a higher amount. Also, increased prices of goods and costs of living at present had diminished the value of the amount given; and the uncertainty of subjects offered each semester contributes to the student –grantee’s difficulties in maintaining the required number of units to qualify.

With this, the Sangguniang Bayan firmly believes that there is a need to make the program responsive to the changes of time; at the same time must be geared towards full utilization and must be taken full advantage of to maximize the chances for the attainment of the purpose of the program and not to put it into waste.

Among the revisions covered in the ordinance include the decrease in the number of allotted slots per barangay, but would be compensated by the doubling of the amount of the financial assistance to be received by ever student-grantee. Further, with the criteria in the acceptance of a grantee will become more stringent, it is all done in the hopes that the program will benefit only the most deserving of the applicants.

Qualified to avail of the program are students enrolled in the tertiary level of education who are studying in any educational institutions within Bontoc, and /or outside the capital town provided that its main office/campus is located within the municipality.

A qualified student- grantee shall receive the amount of P5, 000.00 per semester, after the end of each semester, provided she/he complied with all the requirements which she/he will submit to the officer whom the Local Chief Executive shall entrust the program for supervision. The requirements include a letter of intent; Certificate of Indigence; Favourable Endorsement from the Barangay certifying that applicant and her/his family’s indigence and residence therein; Certificate of Enrolment or other proofs of enrolment in a tertiary level educational institution, with a minimum load of 15 units, except for graduating students who only have less than 15 units remaining to complete their degree; final grades in the immediately preceding regular semester or summer prior to the applicant for college students, while High School Report Card for the fresh graduate in high school; and a proof of registration as a voter of the municipality for an applicant who is over 18 years old.

It is also stated in the ordinance that an applicant can be disqualified to avail of the program if she /he is already a recipient of a similar scholarship or financial assistance program by other institutions, except, where such scholarship is bestowed upon the applicant by the institution where she/he is currently enrolled in as a result of her /his outstanding performance such as the applicant qualifies as Dean’s List and /or College scholar or a working student in the said educational institution; the applicant has a relative up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity who is currently a qualified grantee of the student financial assistance program of the Bontoc Municipal Government; the applicant has a general weighted average below 80% or incurs a final failing grade in any subject, dropped one more of her/his subjects, or incurs a final mark of “incomplete” on the semester/summer prior to the filing of the application; and other analogous circumstances as may be decided by the Screening Committee who is in charge of the screening and determination of qualified applicants.

The ordinance also specified that each barangay shall be allocated a minimum of five slots with an additional one slot per 500 populations. Barangay Alab Oriente is provided with six slots; Barangay Alab Proper –six; Balili- six; Bayyo- five; Bontoc Ili -14; Caluttit –nine; Can-eo is given six slots; Dalican-7; Gonogon- six; Guina-ang with seven slots; Mainit- seven; Maligcong- six; Poblacion -11; Samoki -10; Talubin -8; and Tocucan- seven. This totaled to 121 slots.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin C.Odsey in an interview voiced out that the increase of the financial assistance next year is the result of the harmonious relationship of the executive and legislative body, working together and giving primacy to education.

The financial assistance aims to augment the financial needs of deserving college students who are willing to finish their studies. By Alpine L. Killa

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