SCENE CITY| Banana firms’ group, scholars sign pact

CHILDREN whose parents work for the banana industry in the Davao Region have a bright future ahead in terms of education with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement which took place at the Grand Men Seng Hotel on Monday, May 25, 2015.

 The Banana Export Industry Foundation Inc. has signed again a memorandum of agreement with its scholars.

In his message during the event at the Grand Menseng Hotel, Education Regional Director Alberto T. Escobarte thanked the companies for “providing the students with access to better education”.

He said the support extended by the companies is their way to “pay back to the communities where they operate.” He urged the students to commit themselves to the obligation to study well.

He also urged the companies to continue supporting the students so that more scholars can avail of the assistance.

William L. Leh, chair of the foundation, emphasized the “unrelenting commitment of the companies to the socio-economic upliftment” of the communities of the scholars and the entire Davao Region.

The foundation is the corporate responsibility arm of the 39-year old Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association.

The number of scholars has increased to 27 in high school, 12 of them qualified last year, four of them in college.

Under the agreement, the first two scholars who are in high school are provided with an annual tuition fee of at most P30,000 annually with a monthly stipend of P1,000 if the school is not within their community. The next two scholars get half of the tuition fee and P500 in monthly stipend, while 11 others get a monthly stipend of P500.

The agreement also specifies that those college scholars are “allowed to choose a college course applicable to the business operation of banana production and export” as they are encouraged to take up agriculture-related courses.

The foundation also provides four scholarships for incoming college students, with each of them getting not more than P15,000 for tuition and miscellaneous expenses and P1,000 in monthly allowance.

To qualify, beneficiaries must be dependent of workers and growers of the member companies and that the combined income of their parents must not exceed P200,000 annually.

For children whose parents are growers of the member companies of the foundation, their farms must not exceed three hectares.

For students to qualify, they must have a general average of 85% certified by the school before they can apply and that the companies of their parents must nominate them.

So they could maintain their scholarship, the students must maintain an average grade of 85% and their parents should continue to be connected with the companies that employ them or sign up with them as growers.

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