COTABATO CITY – The proposed bill to provide financially disadvantaged but academically capable and highly motivated students in the region with access to college scholarship grants was introduced in first reading.
Also known as the Bangsamoro Scholarship Act of 2022, the proposed measure authored by Members of the Parliament, Diamila Ramos, Abdulazis Amenoden, Suharto Ambolodto, Mohammad Kelie Antao, Eddie Alih, and Nabila Pangandaman, aims to make tertiary education accessible to all.
A Bangsamoro Scholarship Program will be established under Parliament Bill No. 140 for Filipino residents of the region who have graduated from recognized private or public schools in BARMM and whose family income is insufficient to support their bachelor’s degree.
Scholars in the program are guaranteed admission to any state university or college in the region identified by the Education Ministry.
Free tuition and other school fees, financial assistance for research projects and internships, allowances for necessary books, supplies, equipment, clothing, or uniforms, monthly living, transportation, and other miscellaneous education-related costs are also provided to students.
After graduating and acquiring a bachelor’s degree, scholars are required to complete three years of return service in any private or public institution in the BARMM.
The MBHTE will be in charge of implementing, evaluating, awarding, entering into scholarship contracts with scholars, and monitoring the program. It will also ensure the timely release of benefits and entitlements for the scholars.
As the implementing agency, it will also be responsible for ensuring that no scholarships are duplicated and that those who are underserved by national government financial assistance programs are prioritized.
It will also provide access to equal opportunities and special privileges to those involved in the peace process, including former combatants, their families, and the MILF and MNLF communities.
MBHTE will provide a web-based portal and information system for the scholarship program in order to manage the application and submission of requirements, as well as the database and profiles of scholars and applicants.
In the proposed measure, a Bangsamoro Scholarship Coordinating Council headed by MBHTE will be created to coordinate and consult with ministries and other agencies and offices of the Bangsamoro government in implementing said scholarship program.
The BSCC will be composed of the region’s Science and Technology, Health, Agriculture and Fisheries, Trade and Investment, Environment, Labor, Indigenous Peoples ministries; youth and women’s commissions; and other agencies and offices.
MPs Michael Midtimbang, Susana Anayatin, Basit Abbas, Ali Solaiman, Ali Sangki, Abdulwahab Pak, and Hamid Malik are the co-authors of the proposed measure. (LTAIS- Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)