The Department of Agriculture (DA) is encouraging interested applicants to avail of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) scholarship program, intended for children of Filipino farmers and fisher folks.
DA Undersecretary for Special Concerns Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen, in an interview at the Maunlad na Magsasaka radio program (702 kHz DZAS), discussed the details of the scholarship program consistent with the provisions of RA No. 9464 or the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).
According to Usec. Dilangalen, 80% of the total ACEF is allotted to agriculture project loans, 10% for a scholarship program, while the remaining 10% is for research and development.
Starting in the early 90s, the ACEF scholarship program of the DA have continuously provided assistance to students taking up agriculture and fisheries.
Usec. Dilangalen said that pursuant to RA 10848, which was signed into law on February 16, 2016, the implementation of the ACEF scholarship will be transferred to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
"This is of course, after the law's implementing rules and regulations have been aapproved," she said.
"However, the identification of scholars shall be the prerogative of DA," she added.
Authored by Senator Ralph Recto, RA 10848 prescribes that "ten percent (10%) of ACEF will be used for the funding of a comprehensive and attractive grant-in-aid program for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and veterinary medicine education, to be implemented by CHED."
The ACEF scholarship program is implemented in partnership with the State Universities and Colleges and Private Educational Institutions that offers courses in agriculture, fishery, forestry, and others related or complementary to agriculture and fisheries development.
ACEF will shoulder the scholar's school expenses including the tuition and miscellaneous fee (excluding books), monthly stipend of P1000, and a thesis writing allowance worth P5,000.
The scholarship covers the entire duration of the academic program. However in order to enjoy ACEF scholarship, the student must pass all enrolled subjects each semester and maintain a General Weighted Average (GWA) not lower than 3.0.
When it comes to employment after graduation, Usec. Dilangalen assures that ACEF scholars will be given priority in the Department and its attached agencies and bureaus.
In a case there's no vacancy and a scholar cannot be accommodated, DA will assist the scholars in finding a job related to their field of expertise.
Since it started, ACEF has sent to school more or less 5,000 scholars. Nevertheless, Atty. Dilangalen encourages more applicants from the farmers' and fishers' sector to fill in the slots for this year.
"Ang inyo pong mga anak ay may oportunidad nang makapag-aral dahil sa pagtulong ng gobyerno natin. Sana tangkilikin natin ang pag-aaral sa agrikultura at pangingisda para makatulong tayo sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas," she said.
Interested applicants may reach out to the scholarship coordinators in partner institutions and submit the initial requirements: Form 137, Certificate of Good Moral Character, and Barangay Clearance as proof of indigency, and proof that the applicant is a child of a farmer or fisher folk.
Source: Philippine Information Agency