The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) proudly announces the graduation of 96 Expanded Students’ Grant in Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGPPA) grantees enrolled in Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) for the current school year. Four of which are graduating with flying colors for being Cum Laude and one as a Magna Cum Laude.

A total of 323 grantees from various schools, universities and colleges within Zamboanga Peninsula are expected to march this year as they complete their academic courses, to wit: 96 from WMSU, 116 from Jose Rizal Memorial State University, 48 from Josefina H. Cerilles State College, 28 from Zamboanga State Polytechnic College and 26 from Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology.

Jeselle Buen, a Cum Laude grantee who took up BS Agriculture in WMSU, expressed how ESGPPA has helped her in her school especially after she lost her father.

“Sobrang hirap ng buhay namin lalo na nung namatay ang tatay ko. Pati pambili ng project o pangphotocopy ng libro kinailangan kong pagsumikapan kaya nagbebenta ako noon ng mga kakanin para lang may panggastos sa eskwela. Pero mula noong naging grantee ako ng ESGPPA natugunan na yung mga pangangailangan ko sa school kaya yung atensyon ko talagang natuon sa pag-aaral. Kaya sa awa ng Diyos, nagbunga naman ang pag-aaral ko at nagtapos ako bilang isang Cum Laude. (It was really difficult especially when my father died. I had to work hard selling native delicacies for my projects or even for when I need to photocopy books. But when I became a grantee of the ESGPPA, my needs in school was addressed and my attention was focused on my studies. That is why in God’s will, my hard work paid off and I graduated as Cum Laude),” says Buen during an interview.

As an ESGPPA grantee, Buen, was entitled to receive a maximum of P60,000 grant per school year for her tuition and other school/college fees. She also received 2,500 monthly stipends to support her other education expenses such as book fees and an additional 3,500 as monthly allowance.

Buen further mentioned how Pantawid Pamilya has helped her family understand the value of education and its role in uplifting the lives of poor families from poverty.

DSWD-9 Regional Director, Atty. Araceli F. Solamillo, congratulates all graduates of the program for their perseverance and dedication to finish their individual degrees.

Other grantees who graduated Cum Laude are as follows: Meldie Joy Casayas (BSED), Jeselle P. Buen (BS Agri), Jaricklyn B. Villaganas (BSED), Bobby Jeric M. Perdraza (BSED), and Jaymarnel B. Quiapo (BSED) Magna Cum Laude.

ESGPPA is a program of the national government instituted by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Budget and Management (DBM), State Universities and Colleges. It provides grantees from identified poorest of the poor households by the Listahanan with access to higher education which will eventually bridge them to opportunities for high value-added occupations and an improved quality of life.