Duterte commits P3B more to scholarship fund for displaced OFWs' kids

Published August 31, 2021, 3:46 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte intends to funnel another P3 billion to the national government’s scholarship assistance for children of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

(From left) Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and President Rodrigo Duterte both listen to DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello’s presentation during the “Talk to the People” public briefing on Monday night, Aug. 31, 2021. (Screenshot from Facebook live)

Duterte made this commitment to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III during the “Talk to the People” public briefing on Monday night, Aug. 30. The event was aired on Tuesday morning, Aug. 31.

In his presentation before the panel, Bello bared that the initial P1-billion fund of the scholarship program has benefitted 19,325 children of OFWs. He said the figure was composed of college students.

“Kung talagang tutulong lang naman tayo, todohin na natin (If we’re gonna help anyway, then let’s do it to the fullest). If I will give you mga P3 billion, would you think that it would make a difference in the number of students of OFWs now enrolled in schools?” Duterte asked the DOLE chief.

“Malaking tulong ‘yun, Mr. President (That would be of huge help, Mr. President),” replied Bello.

Duterte said he would “look for the money”, and instantly turned to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to ask if such amount could be mustered from government coffers.

“We will inquire from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management),” the latter answered.

Duterte also said he would look at further increasing the scholarship fund “in time”.

According to the President, the fund should only be used on children “who have it in their heart to study”.

“Iyong mga hindi — ayaw mag-aral, tapos sige lang kayo enroll nang enroll, ay imo-monitor ko kayo. Huwag na kayong mag-aral, gawain na ninyo ano gusto ninyo sa buhay (For those who don’t want to study, those who just enroll repeatedly, I will monitor you. Don’t go to school anymore, do whatever you want to do),” he said.

DOLE figures showed that over 650,000 OFWs have been repatriated to the Philippines since the beginning of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020.