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Unfurling the sails: An OWWA scholar’s voyage

The rough seas most of the time are seen as disastrous moments. But as devastating as it might seem, sometimes a rough sea can turn into a godsend chance.

The year 2015 is the saddest moment for Jose Rian Guanzon Mardoquio, a 15-year-old teenager then, who lost his father because of a lingering illness. By then, Ian, as he is fondly called, was still in senior high school.

But the sad passing of his father, who was an OFW based in Saudi Arabia, opened the way for him to avail the Educational and Livelihood Assistance Program (ELAP) of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

ELAP is a financial aid program that includes a scholarship grant for dependents of OFWs who have passed away and a livelihood grant for the spouse of the deceased OFW. Only one child, usually the eldest, of the OFW will receive the ELAP scholarship grant.

Under the scholarship program, the dependent receives financial aid each semester in the form of allowances. For elementary it’s P5,000, then P8,000 for secondary, and P10,000 for tertiary or college.

“My mother found out that there’s a scholarship for the dependents of the OFWs. So, I was lucky enough that I got the scholarship program from OWWA,” 

REMINISCING. Ian together with his late father during a recognition program in March of 2013 when he was a Grade 7 student in Antique National School.

he said while reminiscing the circumstances they were in during that time.

After graduating from senior high school, Ian got enrolled at John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (Arevalo), Inc. in Iloilo City, and took a bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation.

SET COURSE TO YOUR DREAMS. Ian gives his words of inspiration to his fellow scholars during the 2022 OWWA Scholars Conference facilitated by the OWWA Regional Welfare Office 6 held at District21 Hotel in Iloilo City.

“It (ELAP) is one of the scholarship grants that I’ve garnered during my college years where I got a 100 percent tuition-free, except for the miscellaneous fees. So, this was where I used the scholarship from OWWA,” shared Ian.

He maximized the grant being received and used it to pay for his miscellaneous fees and the rest for his allowances. He kept in mind that he doesn’t want to become a burden to his mother who is also taking care of his younger sibling.

Determined to achieve his and his father’s dream for them, Ian strived with his studies and maintained a passing grade required for the said program. He has also been a consistent dean’s lister.

“The pressure is that I wanted to maintain the passing grades to sustain the scholarship,” he added.

After hurdling the currents, last June of this year, he completed the academic requirements of his degree with flying colors as an awardee of various scholastic and co-curricular achievements.

He conveyed gratitude to OWWA for the support of his education that prepared him for his next voyage.

“It’s kind of cliché to say thank you, mainly because through that word of gratitude, you could encompass something that is within your heart. I know, not all are eligible or qualified to receive this kind of scholarship, that is why I considered myself blessed enough,” said Ian.

Currently, Ian is set to embark on his apprenticeship, and once completed, he looks forward to becoming a successful individual on this path.

Meanwhile, asked about his message to his father, Ian said “Here I am today. After all that I have sacrificed for my studies and I am now gearing up for the caliber of my career. I hope that with a smile on your face there in heaven, you’ll be able to see me here on earth as if this fulfillment is your own as well.” (JBG/FRG/PIA6)

About the Author

Franz Remar Garion

Region 6

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