COTABATO CITY — Giving scholarships or financial assistance to deserving students is one way of promoting access among the Bangsamoro constituents to higher education, MP Amilbahar Mawallil, pushing for the establishment of a scholarship and return service program, said.
MP Mawallil reiterated that improving access to higher education is one of the major challenges of the Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education.
“This challenge is compounded by the armed conflict and other peace and order-related problems in the region,” he added, noting that higher education serves as the link between basic education and the professional world.
Scholarship programs in the region, specifically the Student Financial Assistance Program, he explained, are being managed by the CHED central office and that the number of slots available in the region depends on how CHED distributes slots among the regions.
The BTA Bill 162, or the Bangsamoro Scholarship Grant Act of 2021, seeks to address the said problem by establishing a Bangsamoro Scholarship and Return Service Program for deserving students who wish to pursue education and training in any state university or college in the country.
It also includes a provision for return service, in which the scholar will be absorbed into the Bangsamoro Government after graduating from the SUC and will receive the appropriate civil service rank, salary, and related benefits.
For at least a year, the scholar must serve in the Bangsamoro government, preferably in the scholar’s hometown, or in any city or municipality closest to the scholar’s hometown.
“This will not only be beneficial to the scholar but has a reciprocal benefit to the government through the gainful employment of competent professionals and public servants of the region,” MP Mawallil said.
A scholar who has completed the program or passed the licensure examination for the chosen course but fails or refuses to comply with the mandatory service program will be charged two times the full cost of the scholarship, including all other benefits and expenses incurred by reason of participation in the program.
Co-authors of the proposed bill are MPs Atty. Laisa Alamia, Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, Engr. Don Loong, Atty. Rasol Mitmug, Atty. Suharto Ambolodto, Rasul Ismael, and Abraham Burahan. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)