‘Bangkang papel’ kids now in college

April 22, 2010 7:23 pm 

MANILA, April 22 — Two of the three original “bangkang papel” (paper boat) kids, now nine years older, called on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo this morning to personally thank the Chief Executive for her compassion and generosity that has provided numerous opportunities for themselves and their families.

Jomar Pabalan, Erwin Dolera, and Jayson Vann Banogon, victims of the Payatas trash slide in 2001, had sent their dreams and wishes for their families scribbled on paper boats to the President that year.

Pabalan, who was 10 years old at that time, wished for a permanent job for his father; Dolera, who was eight at that time, wished for the closure of the Payatas dumpsite and wished that his family would be given land; while 10-year old Banogon wanted to finish college.

In reply, the President outlined in her 2001 State of the Nation Address (SONA) plans for job creation, education, housing, and food security. She also set targets and asked Congress for several legislative measures to achieve this.

According to Undersecretary Alicia Bala of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Policy and Programs Group who accompanied Pabalan and Dolera, the trio had been accorded, though the assistance of the Department of Education (DedEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED), scholarship grants to fulfill their dream of acquiring a college education.

Pabalan is an incoming freshman college student, taking up BS Information Technology at the AMA Computer University while Dolera is an incoming junior taking up BS Mass Communication at the Trinity University of Asia.

Bala said that aside from the scholarships, the families of each boy were given seed capital to put up small businesses to augment the family income.

Including the scholarship grants and seed capital, government spent P372,982 and P206,221 for Pabalan and Dolera, respectively.

Bala added that during the meeting with the President, the duo voiced concerns on the continuity of their schooling after the President steps down in June this year.

To address this, Bala said the President instructed DSWD to coordinate with DepED and CHED to ensure that they would remain scholars until they finish their respective courses.

She added the President further instructed DSWD to coordinate with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) so that their parents could acquire other skills through the agency’s technical-vocation education program.

“That way, they (the parents) will be more qualified to accept any job,” Bala quoted the President as saying. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/ssc

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