BUTUAN CITY (November 20) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the Educational Benefit System signed yesterday (November 19) a Memorandum of Agreement with eight higher educational institutions in Caraga Region in providing free education to dependents of soldiers who are in-service and those who were killed in action.
In a solemn and heart-pounding awarding ceremony held in one of the local convention centers here, eight tertiary schools and universities from the region pledged to support the program by offering full tuition fee discounts in selected courses they are offering.
Among the highlights of the agreement made between AFP and Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), the first home-grown university in Caraga is that, the university will provide five slots per year covering full tuition and matriculation fees. The educational benefit is applicable to any undergraduate course except Nursing and Law. The program may be availed by dependents of combat casualties.
Photo shows Fr. Chito "Kits" Butardo, Vice President of Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU)[2nd from right] is shown here signing the Memorandum of Agreement between FSUU and AFP as they partnered in providing free education to dependents of soldiers who are in-service and those who were killed in action. Also in photo from left to right are Col. Emiliano Gupana II (GSC) PA, Commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade; MGen Ricardo David Jr., Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army; and a school administrator of FSUU. (Gerie Mae G. Coco, PIA-Caraga)
Same with FSUU, Saint Paul University (SPU) – Surigao City Campus provides five slots covering full tuition discount. The educational benefit shall be applicable in any undergraduate course offered by the school and the program may be availed by dependents of and active and inactive military personnel.
For Holy Child Colleges of Butuan, they committed to provide unlimited slots covering full tuition fee discount. The educational benefit is applicable in all educational level from elementary to college and master programs. The program shall apply to all dependents of active and inactive military personnel.
The New Northern Mindanao Colleges (NORMI) of Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte will provide five slots per year covering 100 percent tuition fee discount. The educational benefit is applicable to any undergraduate course offered by the school. The program may be availed by dependents of active and inactive military personnel.
On the other hand, Butuan City Colleges (BCC) committed to provide ten 100 percent scholarship slots covering tuition fees for four year courses. Another ten slots of 50 percent tuition fee discount will also be extended upon the consumption of the first ten slots while five slots of 50 percent tuition fee discount for short courses can also be availed by the grantee. The program may be availed by dependents of active and inactive military personnel.
Surigao Education Center (SEC), also in Surigao City will provide ten slots covering full tuition fee discount in tertiary level. The educational benefit is applicable in any undergraduate course offered by the school and may be availed by dependents of active military personnel.
Butuan City Colleges (BCC), one of the oldest schools in this city committed to provide one slot for the first year covering full tuition fee discount. The educational benefit is applicable to any undergraduate course offered by the school. The program may be availed by dependents of active and inactive military personnel. Also, additional slots will be determined by the school.
Finally, the Northeastern Mindanao Colleges in Surigao City also committed to support the program but at present, the MOA was still on the process of finalization.
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Alexander Ambal, Chief and General Manager of the AFP Educational Benefit System Office said in a roundtable discussion with the local press that he was overwhelmed with the response of the academic institutions here in Caraga and foresees the sustainability of the program because of the unending support of the partner institutions in Caraga.
This was supported by Major General Ricardo David Jr., Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army by saying that the dependents of the soldiers especially those who were killed in action here in the region are fortunate to have the support of these educational institutions “because these schools and universities have also implemented high standards of education”, he said.
Also during the ceremony, Certificates of Scholarship were awarded to dependents of Private First Class Jaypee Balgosa and Roel Traquena of the Philippine Army who were both killed in an encounter with insurgents in Lingig, Surigao del Sur.
This noble effort of the AFP is in line with the thrusts and programs of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo particularly in educating dependents of soldiers.
Present during the MOA-signing are representatives and heads of the eight educational institutions. Representing the AFP is Deputy Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Rodrigo Maclang.
For inquiries regarding the program, contact the AFP Educational Benefit System Office (AFPEBSO) at Gate 6, Gen. Enrile corner Gen. Ramos Avenue, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City at (02) 912-6922 or 911-6153. They can also be contacted thru fax number 912-9606 or visit the website at http://www.afpebso.org.ph/. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)
HCCB offers unlimited scholarship grant to soldiers’ dependents
BUTUAN CITY (November 20) – Of the eight educational institutions who committed to support the educational needs of the soldiers’ dependents, one school emerged as the most noble supporter of the program, committing unlimited scholarship slots from elementary to master’s program.
Dr. Rodulfo P. Esteves (3rd from left) signs the MOA with AFP officials signifying his commitment to offer unlimited scholarship slots to dependents of soldiers both active, inactive and those who were killed-in-action. (Gerie Mae G. Coco, PIA-Caraga)
Holy Child Colleges of Butuan (HCCB), one of the fastest growing schools in Caraga Region was established in 1998 to answer the demand for special education in the region. It started as a special school for the differently-abled students with self-contained classes for the hearing-impaired, the ones with Down syndrome, the autistic, the slow-learners and those with behavioral and learning difficulties.
During the MOA-signing between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the eight colleges and universities of the region, HCCB President Dr. Rodulfo P. Esteves emphasized the importance of education by saying that “Education is not an opportunity, it’s a privilege”.
Moreover, in an interview with PIA, Dr. Esteves said quality education is not only for the selected few – those who can afford and those who are intelligent. “I believe that all the youths must be given proper and quality education. This is not only for those who can afford it and those who have brains… but for everybody. We should focus those who are in dire need for education… those who are not so brainy… because if we intend to snub them, they may become liabilities to our society,” he said.
When asked why among the eight schools supporting the program, HCCB decided to offer unlimited scholarship slots from elementary to master’s program, Esteves said the school envisions to blend humanities with technology to meet global needs with the passion for service and excellence. This embodied in the school’s mission statement. “We are offering unlimited slots even we have limited funds. Besides, the applicants must also pass the entrance examination imposed by the school,” he added.
HCCB President, Dr. Esteves is a Diplomate in Behavioral Medicine and holds the distinction of being the second recipient of the prestigious Lily Rosqueta-Rosales (LRR) Counselor Leadership Award which was launched in the University of the Philippines in 1997. He is the former Director of Guidance and Testing Services and a full-fledged professor in the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP). As an accredited counseling psychologist of the Medical Services of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Dr. Esteves screen security guards, gunholders, and teachers with professionalism and commitment to service.
As a trailblazer in counseling, Dr. Esteves founded the Saint Peter’s Counseling Home in 1988, the Saint Anthony Chain of Neuro and Testing Centers in Butuan and Bislig Cities, and the Security Guard Academy in the succeeding year.
With the systematize management of its President coupled with the expertise of the entire teaching force blended with passion for service and excellence, HCCB is a clear manifestation of an educational institution whose main purpose of existence is to mold the youths of today to become the future leaders not only of the region, but of the country as well.
This also supports the ten-point agenda of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo particularly in educating the Filipino populace and thus, eradicating illiteracy which is one of the causes of massive poverty. (Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga)