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His testimony moved the crowd to tears. Standing in front of the attentive crowd, he recalled past struggles in between tears as a scholar and now graduating. Thanks to the scholarship grant of EMS Components Assembly, Inc. (EMS CAI) on June 6, 2015 at Laguna Technopark, Inc., SEPZ, Binan, Laguna. The event is the Awarding and Graduation Ceremony of The Bridge Project (TBP): Francis I. Ferrer (FIF) Scholarship Program.

In his testimony during their graduation, Aaron Germano not only brought tears but inspiration to the next batch of scholars. A graduate of Southville IV National High School, he managed to finish his secondary studies through the FIF Scholarship Program and was grateful to have his future planned out as he looks forward to attending a five-month course on Housekeeping at Asia Tech. With his unquestionable drive and dedication, he is likely to take his promise by heart and take a huge leap beyond his initial plans.

Another FIF Scholar, Joshua Manalo, literally a victor in his own right following his academic and extra-curricular achievements in school despite challenging schedules as the Supreme Student Government's President, also gave a moving speech. He is no stranger to hardwork taking summer job in a resort and recently spearheading his team toward being the Best Brigada Implementer among other schools.

No wonder, he persuaded incoming scholars to chase and catch their dreams by saying,"Kung may pangarap tayo sa buhay, gagawin at gagawin natin ang lahat upang matupad ito." (If we have hopes and dreams in life, we will do everything to make them a reality.)

Hopefully, this creed will be taken seriously by the ten new scholars under DOLE IV-A LPO Adopt-A-Child-Laborer Program and EMS CAI TBP FIF Scholarship Program identified as follows:

1. Banzal, John Herny Ordoña
2. Emata, Kim Ynnad
3. Gonzales, Ellaine
4. Maningas, Renmark
5. Niala, Mae Ann
6. Panting, John Vincent
7. Pastidio, John Mica
8. Sampaga, Ulysses
9. Santos, Jerome
10. Villena, Mhajie Nicole

The above-listed scholars are among the profiled child laborers from Barangays Calo and Sto. Domingo of Bay, Laguna who were awarded with scholarship grants through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DOLE IV-A Laguna Provincial Office (LPO) and EMS CAI signed by DOLE IV-A Regional Director Ma. Zenaida A. Angara-Campita and EMS CAI President Ferdinand A. Ferrer. The MOA was done through the initiative of Sr. LEO and Child Labor-Free Program (CLFP) Focal Raymond R. Ramos and EMS CAI Executive Ellen Ferrer.

As new scholars, they are entitled to basic allocation of school kit (bag, notebook, paper, calculator, and other supplies) and quarterly allowance of Php1, 850.00 to cover meal, project, and transportation expenses.
Nonetheless, the event’s Guest of Honor, Mr. Francis I. Ferrer, understands that it takes more than basic education to realize one’s optimum productivity and compete in the labor market as he mentioned in his speech that, “training makes ordinary people produce extraordinary results” and further reiterated that, “we (the company) will take care of building up your (scholars’) skills.”

Each scholar is obliged to attend at least one TBP Seminar on Values Formation and Life Coaching among other responsibilities and documentary requirements. This training is crucial to meeting challenges in employment particularly job mismatch which was raised by DOLE IV-A LPO Director Milagros R. Mata in her message stating,

“Hindi angkop ang kaalaman ng graduate sa pangangailangan ng kumpanya.” (Knowledge and skills of graduates don’t fit the qualification requirements of companies.”

With the support and guidance of EMS CAI TBP FIF family, the odds are likely in favour of the ten child laborers turned scholars soon to seize “full, decent, and productive employment.”



DOLE Laguna Provincial Office

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