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Armm gives stipend to Maguindanao scholars

COTABATO CITY — Giving importance to education as a tool out of poverty, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) has released financial aid to Bangsamoro scholars of Maguindanao, officials said Wednesday. The financial aid was part the Armm’s “Empowering the Bangsamoro Region through Active Community Engagements in the Armm (Embrace-Armm)” program.

More than a hundred beneficiaries received from the regional government stipend covering the first and second semesters for school year 2014-2015 at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex in Cotabato City. Half-merit scholars received P10,000 while full-merit scholars received P20,000.

John Louie Balagot, Armm’s deputy executive secretary and concurrent Embrace-Armm program manager, said the regional government earmarked a total of P24 million for the scholarship and as of this month, it has assisted 1,539 students across the region.

Checks were handed over by Balagot; Atty. Rasol Mitmug Jr., Armm’s chief of staff; Jo Guro, financial management officer of the Commission on Higher Education-Armm; and Atty. Kirby Abdullah, assistant secretary for Maguinda-nao convergence.

The scholarship program dubbed “Academic Investment for Muslim Mindanao” (Aimm) is known in the past as “Iskolar: Para sa Pagbabago, Para sa Bangsamoro.”

It aims to help underprivileged students pursue college degrees. All valedictorian high school graduates from public and private schools in the region are eligible to avail of the Aimm scholarship.

He said that it is up to the beneficiary to choose the course and school he, or she, wants to study at and that the program is closely monitoring the scholar’s performance.

“We are very thankful to the Armm government since this scholarship program helps us a lot, especially to me because my parents can’t send me to school,” Sittie Haya Naga, a 22-year-old scholar from Capi-ton, Datu Odin Sinsuat, said.

Naga, is a third year student at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College taking up Bachelor of Science in Public Administration.

Abdilla Gintawan, a 46-year-old farmer from Mamasapano, Maguindanao and father of Saguira Gintawan, a recipient of a scholarship, said he commends the efforts of the regional government in helping poor families.

“We are still fixing the schedule of the distribution of checks in other provinces such as Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” Balagot said. (pna)

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