BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Baguio City’s push for increased aid for deserving indigent college students received approval from the Baguio City Council. The measure raised city hall’s financial assistance to college students by 33% per semester.
The legislative action amended Baguio’s 2019 Ordinance No. 116, which established the city government’s college education grant program for economically disadvantaged yet deserving college students.
The amended ordinance significantly increased the local government’s budget for financial aid from P10 million to P20 million in the 2023 executive budget. It also includes provisions to annually increase the budget by P5 million, subject to City Council approval, to accommodate projected growth in the number of beneficiaries.
Authored by Baguio Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, the May 15 amendment raised the current aid per semester from P6,000 to P8,000 for each student, on the condition that they maintain their grades and pass all subjects.
The ordinance also extends the same financial assistance to students in equivalent technical or vocational programs.
While awaiting the mayor’s signature, the City Council’s Committee on Education, Culture, and Historical Research was given a two-month deadline to finalize the guidelines for implementing the ordinance.
“We are still crafting the IRR for it. But it is already funded, and it is ready to start once the IRR is completed,” Olowan said.
Leandro Tabilog, assistant to the mayor and one of the key personnel for the program, said the scholarship requirements include certificates of income from the parents obtained from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), proof of residency in Baguio, and voters’ certification for either the parents or the applicants if they are of voting age.
Since the start of the 2023 academic year, the program has benefited approximately 1,202 students, and with the expanded funding, it aims to support a minimum of 1,500 students.
“This is a long-term program. We will see how it goes, and then we will ask the mayor if we can get more money for it, because this is for our students in Baguio,” Olowan said. – Rappler.com
Angel Castillo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
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