LUTAYAN, Sultan Kudarat - The 21-year-old son of a street sweeper graduated from college with honors here with the help of a government scholarship program, giving his family a better chance to climb out of poverty.
Raymark Khalid Cabading finished his agriculture technology studies at the Sultan Kudarat State University cum laude, one of 34,000 students nationwide who graduated with help from the Expanded Student’s Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation or ESGP-PA.
Cabading said he helped his mother work as a street sweeper for 2 months after high school, fearing his family could not afford to pay his tuition.
"To my Mama and Papa, I love you. I’m here right now in front of you. I am grateful for all of your support and for everything that you have given me," he said in a speech during the graduation rites on March 29.
"Finally and most importantly, I would like to state my heartfelt gratitude to God, to Allah, who ruled everything on Earth, for giving me life, strength, courage, wisdom, and everything," he said.
The ESGP-PA aims to provide educational assistance to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the government's cash transfer program for the poorest of the poor.
Under the ESGP-PA, a beneficiary receives a maximum of P60,000 per school year to cover tuition, school supplies, food, clothing, lodging, and other expenses.