The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and the Mindanao State University (MSU) System renewed their memorandum of agreement (MoA) for the Bangon Marawi Program in Science and Technology Human Resource Development.
Through the program, more students from Marawi City and nearby towns can pursue their degrees as DOST scholars. “Education is a powerful tool for development, and a fundamental right for all young people, especially those affected by the conflict,” DOST-SEI director Josette Biyo said.
In Bangon Marawi, the DOST-SEI prioritizes applicants who were directly affected by the siege.
The DOST-SEI and MSU first inked a partnership in 2018. In its five-year run, over 500 scholarship slots have been awarded to MSU students and faculty taking up science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Almost 400 have finished their studies, with around 70 scholars marching with high honors.
Right after the MoA signing, 73 new scholars signed their scholarship agreement, becoming the first batch of qualifiers for the approved 200 slots for the year. The remaining slots will be awarded to qualifiers of the March 2023 examination.
MSU System president Basari Mapupuno reiterated the university’s support to the program. “Bangon Marawi is a blessing not only to MSU but to numerous individuals who have been aided by this endeavor.”
Bangon Marawi scholars enjoy the same privileges accorded to DOST scholars, such as book and thesis allowance; accident insurance; and a monthly stipend of P7,000 for undergraduate students and P25,000 and P33,000 for MS and Ph.D. students. The DOST-SEI also covers graduate students’ tuition fees and provides research grants of up to P475,000.
New undergraduate scholars Soraya Al-Obinay and Aiman Cayongcat, who lived in Marawi’s “ground zero” during the siege, were overjoyed at the opportunity.
For Soraya, the Bangon Marawi scholarship is an answered prayer. Her family had been struggling financially after losing their business. Aiman added that the siege wasn’t the only challenge his family faced as the pandemic also hit them hard. He vowed to make the most of his scholarship.
Both scholars intend to help their families, pursue graduate studies, and give back to their communities.
DOST secretary Renato Solidum Jr. ensured the program’s continuity, emphasizing the significance of human and social infrastructures in Marawi’s rehabilitation.
“By restoring people’s confidence in their abilities and assuring them that nothing, not even poverty, war, or a pandemic, can stop them from pursuing their dreams, we rebuild Marawi from within,” he said.