MANILA - Seventy-one scholars of ABS-CBN's Bantay Bata 163 are still without sponsors as opening of the new school year drew near, the program's chief said Monday.
The program will no longer accept new applications due to limited funding as the broadcast franchise denial to ABS-CBN forced it to cease some of its business operations, Bantay Bata 163 director Jing Castañeda earlier said.
The project had extended 6,407 scholarship grants since 1998, and produced 1,273 graduates from 1999, according to Jingkie Ongan of ABS-CBN Bantay Edukasyon.
"Sa lahat ng napa-graduate natin, gusto kong mag-Thank You sa kanila sa opportunity na binigay nila sa foundation. Binuksan po nila ang puso nila para makagawa tayo ng pagbabago sa buhay nila," she said.
(To all of our graduates, thank you for giving us an opportunity to change your life.)
"Sana, kung anuman ang mangyari sa foundation, sana 'wag silang mawalan ng pagasa, patuloy pa rin silang mangarap. Ang Bantay Bata, gagawin pa rin ang lahat ng pagtulong sa abot ng ating makakaya."
(Whatever happens to the foundation, don't lose hope and continue to dream. Bantay Bata will continue providing assistance to the best of its ability.)
Voting 70-11, the House committee on legislative franchises on July 10 decided to reject the new franchise bid of ABS-CBN despite the company being cleared of alleged irregularities and delinquencies by relevant government agencies.
Aside from affecting the livelihood of the company's more than 11,000 workers amid a bruised economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the shutdown of ABS-CBN is also seen by various sectors as curtailment of the people's right to information, as well as of press freedom.
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