EVERY day, Rolly Amion together with his siblings walked eight kilometers or more than one hour from home in Brgy. Tuy-an, Cabatuan, Iloilo to school, and vice versa just to finish their elementary and high school.
There was even a time that they have to share in one scrambled egg or bought a piece of muscovado candy (butong-butong) to have a viand during their lunch break. Being the eldest child, Rolly also helped his parents in the farm, look after his four siblings and do a lot of house chores during weekends.
Their poor status in life had inspired him to study hard so he could give a better life to his family. Despite the hardships, Rolly was able to balance his time between studies and responsibilities. In fact, since elementary and high school, Rolly has been a consistent honor student.
In 2011, Rolly’s family was included in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program covering one of his sibling enrolled in senior high school. Rolly said because of the cash grants they are receiving from the program, their life has gradually changed for the better. Their parents were able to buy their vitamins, food, school supplies and uniform and other personal needs. They seldom get sick because their health has also been strictly monitored. They underwent regular check-ups and deworming as one of the conditions set by the program.
After graduating from high school, Rolly enrolled at West Visayas State University – College of Agriculture and Forestry in Lambunao, Iloilo with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture major in Animal Science through the help of Expanded Student Grand-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) after passing the qualifying examination.
ESGP-PA is an educational grant which gives priority to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilya by providing them opportunity to get college education, increase their chance to get better employment in the future and ultimately uplift the lives of their family so that they become contributors to national development.
The program is being implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Each student grantee is entitled to a maximum of P60, 000.00 as grant per year or P30, 000.00 per semester.
Rolly focused more on his studies as he aims for excellence. Despite being an ESGP-PA grantee however, the allowance was not enough for his school projects especially during his graduating year.
“I was able to manage my allowance despite I am always short in my daily school expenses but it doesn’t hamper my interest to study because I want to finish my agriculture course. If I have any problems, I handle it patiently because my family is always supporting me. They are all my inspirations in life and I really want to end this poverty,” he said.
Rolly’s perseverance has finally paid off, graduating cum laude during their graduation day last March. His aspiration in life contributed also when he took the Agriculture Licensure Examination last June and made it as Top 5 when the results were released by the Professional Regulation Board (PRC) on Tuesday, July 3. Rolly registered a rating of 86.33 percent.
Rolly is now waiting his oath taking so that he could start processing his license from the PRC. According to him, he will look for a stable job so he could help his family. He also wanted his three siblings to go back school after they were temporarily stopped from high school to give way for him.
“I would like to thank our government for initiating this program which is a very big help to poor families like us. Thank you also for the ESGP-PA because without this, maybe I could not finish my college degree. May the government will continue these kind of endeavors so that more opportunities will be given to poor but deserving students. I am forever grateful,” he said.
Rolly’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Roselo and Lilibeth Amion are very proud of their son’s achievement. They hope could reach his dreams in life one after the other with God’s guidance. They also advised their son to remain humble all the time./PN