With holistic approach in assisting Filipino migrant workers, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has not only addressed the welfare of OFW-members but also secures the future of their dependents through scholarships and educational assistance.
OWWA has been offering assistance through the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP) and the OFW Dependent Scholarship Program (ODSP).
The EDSP is a scholarship grant amounting to P60,000 per school year to qualified dependents of active OWWA members who intend to pursue a four- or five-year baccalaureate course in any preferred college or university.
The ODSP, meanwhile, is an educational assistance amounting to P20,000 per school year to qualified dependents of active OWWA members whose salary is not more than US$600.
Among the recipients of OWWA scholarship grants, who are now young professionals, are Justine Wendell Navarez, who is a civil engineer; Myla Geronga, who recently graduated with honors; and Angelika Marie Fundal, who is a licensed teacher. When Navarez, from Digos City, Davao del Sur availed of the EDSP in 2011, he did not just pass the qualifying examinations administered by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), he also ranked ninth among the nationwide passers on that year.
After passing the examinations, he took up Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the Cor Jesu College, Digos City.
Navarez was granted with the scholarship after his father, OFW Roel Navarez came back from the Middle East after working as a construction foreman.
His father opted to stay home and hitched sidelines, while most of the financial burden shifted to his mother, who is a school guidance counselor. After passing the Civil Engineering Board Exam in 2017, Navarez worked as a part-time instructor at the Cor Jesu College of Engineering.
Presently, he works as a Laboratory Engineer at Qualitest Solutions and Technologies, Inc. in Davao City.
Another EDSP scholar, Geronga, from Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, earned her degree in Business Administration major in Marketing Management at Saint Joseph Institute of Technology.
She graduated Cum Laude. Geronga’s sister, Daisy, who works as a manicurist in the United Arab Emirates, encouraged her to apply for the OWWA scholarship, because she can no longer sustain the needs of their family.
They are among the ten children of a public utility jeepney driver and a housewife.
Geronga became an EDSP grantee in 2018. She was an achiever both academically and non-academically.
She was a consistent Dean’s Lister and she had won several awards in the dance competitions that she had joined.
Even though she could not experience a graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she expressed gratitude to OWWA and to her sister for enabling her to finish her studies.
For now, Geronga defers her job-hunting in order to take care of their mother, who was diagnosed with cancer.
Lastly, Fundal was an ODSP grantee who took up Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in English at Capiz State University in 2013. She graduated as Cum Laude in March 2017.
After passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), Fundal was hired by the Department of Education as Teacher I at San Nicolas National High School in Tapaz, Capiz.
Armed with her passion for teaching and learning, she obtained her Master of Arts in Teaching Major in English at Filamer Christian University in June 2020 and was awarded Outstanding in Thesis Writing.
Currently, Fundal is pursuing Doctor of Education major in English Language Teaching also at Filamer Christian University.
To qualify in EDSP, the dependent-applicant must be single and not be more than 21 years old; must have an average grade of at least 80 percent and belongs to the upper 20 percent of the graduating class; and must belong to the top 400 passers in the qualifying examination conducted by the Department of Science and Technology.
Meanwhile, eligible to apply in ODSP are children of active OWWA members or siblings of unmarried OWWA members, who are single and not more than 21 years old for incoming freshmen and not more than 30 years old for those who are already enrolled in college.
They must also pass the entrance examination conducted by the state college or university in the OWWA Regional Welfare Office where the applicant intends to enroll.