PILI, CAMARINES SUR --- Some 401 out of 430 applicants from the Bicol region were granted with scholarships under the Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) – Grants-In-Aid for Higher Education Program (DA ACEF-GIAHEP) for the school year (SY) 2020- 2021 until SY 2024 – 2025.
These new scholars are in addition to the 302 ACEF-GIAHEP scholars currently enrolled in various State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) or Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Bicol.
Among the 17 regions, Bicol has the most number of grantees for this year, which is 18 percent of the total of 2,160 grantees in the country.
The new scholarship grantees for this year came from the six provinces of Bicol. Catanduanes has the highest scholarship grantees with 203; Camarines Norte, 80 grantees; Camarines Sur, 63 grantees; Masbatem49 grantees; Albay, 24 grantees; and Sorsogon, 9 grantees.
ACEF – GIAHEP is a one of the programs of the DA to encourage the youth to pursue higher education and take up agriculture related courses.
ACEF-GIAHEP aims to contribute to the development of agriculture and fisheries by increasing the number of graduates in higher education who are trained in the scientific habit of thought, entrepreneurial skills and technical competencies in the areas of agriculture, forestry, fisheries veterinary medicine and related agricultural education programs.
The DA ACEF-GIAHEP provides these scholars with P3,500 / month stipend (for 10 months per school year) during the duration of their higher education, which maybe four years or more; and one time thesis project grant of P15,000 for the whole course and P3,000 practicum / On-the-Job Training (OJT) allowance. Honor students will also receive P10,000 academic award.
Dr. Edgar R. Madrid, regional technical director for Research and Regulations and regional coordinator of ACEF – GIAHEP in Bicol, said that the program started in 2010 and has already produced 262 graduates of agri-related courses.
He added that there are 302 scholars currently enrolled in various SUCs/HEIs: 50 in Albay; 93 in Camarines Norte; 24 in Camarines Sur; 30 in Catanduanes; 47 in Masbate; and 56 scholars in Sorsogon.
In 10 years of implementation of ACEF-GIAHEP, it has already granted scholarships to a total of 598 deserving scholars who are mostly children of small farmers and fisherfolk, underprivileged and homeless, and indigenous people.
Graduating senior high students and currently enrolled college students are usually encouraged to apply in the months of April to June annually. Applications could be submitted to the DA RFO 5 ACEF Secretariat at RTD4RR.DA5@gmail.com or to the partner SUCs/HEIs.
In the province of Camarines Sur , scholars can choose between the two partner SUCs/HEIs, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) in Pili, and Partido State University (PSU) in Goa.
In Albay province, scholars may opt to study in one of the three campuses of Bicol University (BU) such as in Legazpi City, Tabaco City and BU College of Agriculture and Fisheries in Guinobatan.
Meanwhile, scholars from Camarines Norte may choose Camarines Norte State College (CNSC) in Mercedes, CNSC in Labo, and Camarines Norte College of Arts and Business (CANCAB).
In Catanduanes, scholars may choose between Catanduanes State University main campus or Panganiban Campus.
In Masbate, scholars may enroll at Dr. Emilio B. Espinosa Sr. Memorial State College of Agriculture and Technology (DEBESMSCAT) in Cawayan.
In Sorsogon, scholars may opt to enroll in Sorsogon State College (SSC) in Castilla or in SSC Magallanes campus; Bicol University in Gubat, and Veritas College of Irosin.
For SY 2020- 2021, the regional ACEF-GIAHEP secretariat forwarded a total of 430 applicants to the national secretariat.
Applications in the DA RFO 5 are being submitted by ACEF –GIAHEP regional coordinator to DA undersecretary for Special Concerns and ACEF-GIAHEP national focal person Waldo R. Carpio, and are forwarded to Agriculture Sec. William Dar for his approval.
(Lovella P. Guarin – DA RAFIS 5 / with reports from DA RFO 5 ACEF-GIAHEP Secretariat)