P98.5M allotted for college scholarships of sugar workers’ dependents

Published by rudy Date posted on September 19, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — The government has earmarked P98.5 million to provide free college education to eligible dependents of sugar industry workers and small cane farmers, Pasig Representative Roman Romulo, chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on higher and technical education, said.

The fund is part of the P10.53-billion allocation for the Commission on Higher Education in the proposed P3-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2016.

“The amount will pay for the scholarships of qualified children and other dependents of small cane growers as well as plantation workers, including those employed in sugar mills, refineries, distilleries,” Romulo said in a statement issued Saturday.

The scholars will be enrolled in chemical engineering, agriculture, agricultural engineering and mechanics, sugar technology and related higher education programs, the lawmaker said.

The grants were established under the recently passed Sugarcane Industry Development Law, which is intended to help the sector face the challenges of a liberalized market and lower tariffs.

Aside from giving sugar workers’ dependents access to higher education, the scholarships are also seen to “develop the human resources that local sugar sector needs to compete forcefully against foreign suppliers,” Romulo said.

The law earmarks a P2-billion annual subsidy, 15 percent of which will be given out as grants to block farms, 15 percent for socialized credit, 15 percent for research and development, five percent for scholarship grants, and 50 percent for infrastructure buildup such as new trans-loading ports, farm-to-mill roads and irrigation facilities.

The Sugar Regulatory Administration said the sugar industry contributed around P88 billion to the national economy last year. –InterAksyon.com

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