Seventy-one TSUian scholars of the Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative (PAFCPIC) received their stipend for the first semester of the academic year 2022-2023 at the Student Center in Lucinda Campus on Thursday afternoon (December 22).
This scholarship caters to indigents, Indigenous Peoples (IPs), and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
The PAFCPIC Scholars Day comprised a meet and greet activity, stipend awarding, and orientation led by Dr. Elsie M. Canlas, Scholarship and Financial Assistance head of the Office of Student Affairs and Services.
Moreover, TSU President Dr. Arnold E. Velasco and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Agnes M. Macaraeg graced the event to meet the scholars.
In his special message, Pres. Velasco shared his hardships and trials back in college, where he also experienced juggling odd jobs and his studies to support his family's needs.
The University President's message brought the scholars' parents to tears when he said that he only ate the same meal for five years – rice wrapped in banana leaves, a pinch of salt, and tomato.
"Mabibilang niyo po sa mga daliri ko kung ilang beses lang ako kumain ng may ulam. Palaging asin, kanin, at kamatis lang po araw-araw. Kaya ang ginagawa ko po kapag lunch time na, nagkukulong na ako sa Engineering Room 7 dahil ayaw kong makita ng mga kakalse ko na ang ulam ko ay asin lang. Pero nagpatuloy po akong mangarap bilang engineer po," he said.
To support their studies and help both parents and students, the PAFCPIC scholars receive a monthly allowance, book allowance, and uniform allowance.
IP scholars are also provided with transportation allowance since most live in remote areas.
In addition, all scholars are entitled to receive a cash gift if they graduate on time.
Meanwhile, in the amended memorandum of agreement signed last September 2022, scholars who will finish their degrees as honor graduates will be awarded monetary incentives amounting to 5,000 pesos for cum laude, 10,000 pesos for magna cum laude, and 15,000 pesos for summa cum laude.
With the allowances and incentives available to the scholars, VP Macaraeg challenged the students to do well in their studies and give back to their families.
"'Yung mga nagbabayad ng taxes, sila ang mga nagpapaaral sa inyo. So, ano pa ang dahilan para 'di kayo matapos, 'di po ba? Kaya ulit, ang challenge ko, nasa inyo na mga minamahal naming anak. Ano man ang hirap, kailangan lang nating magtiyaga. Dahil kung tunay kang may pangarap sa buhay at mahal mo ang iyong mga magulang, babalik at babalikan mo sila kasi gusto mong tumulong kahit na papaano. Lalo na sa kulturang Pilipino, maiaabot mo sa kanila 'yung unang sweldo o kahit pakainin mo man lang paminsan-minsan 'yung magulang mo sa lugar na hindi pa nya napagkainan," VP Macaraeg said in her message.
She encouraged the scholars to pay it forward and send other students to school when they graduate and start working. She stressed that scholars can still help others by teaching them.
“Ang may maturuan ka, kahit na isang tao, ay napakalaking bagay na po no'n,” VP Macaraeg said.
One of the PAFCPIC scholars is 21-year-old Diana Carlos, a third-year student from the College of Teacher Education, who received a tablet last year.
Carlos said she was lucky to have a learning device from PAFCPIC because her phone is no longer functional, and she cannot afford to buy a new one. She added that the money for a new phone could be used instead for other daily expenses.
Furthermore, Carlos shared that the stipend she received will be of great help since her parents are no longer with her and she only depends on the financial support of her elder siblings.
She also expressed gratitude to PAFCPIC's assistance, especially now that the university will go back to the full face-to-face classroom setup next semester.
The PAFCPIC is a multi-awarded cooperative organized by the retired military personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.