DENR offers college scholarship to kids of environmental heroes

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is offering a generous scholarship package to children of “fallen heroes of the environment” or workers of the agency who died in the line of duty.

DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje recently signed DENR Memorandum Circular No. 2013-02, which outlines the general guidelines for the scholarship program that aims to help send kids of slain environment workers to college.

“This is our way of recognizing the service and contribution of our fellow workers who died while protecting the environment,” Paje said.

“We came up with this scholarship program because apart from believing in the value of education, we know that it’s every parent’s dream to see his child secure a college diploma so we want to fulfill that dream in behalf of our environmental heroes who have gone ahead of us,” he added.

DENR data showed that more than 60 of its workers have died while performing their duties since the agency was established in 1987, including “Bayani ng Kalikasan” awardee Melania Dirain, a 46-year-old forestry specialist who was shot and killed in her office in Sanchez Mira town in Cagayan on Feb. 7, 2012.

Paje said one of the two children of Dirain may avail of the scholarship program.

The environment chief said the DENR scholarship package will help scholars cope up with the demands of a college education.

Under the guidelines, the scholarship award covers the recipient’s full tuition in any state university within the country, monthly living allowance of P5,000, book and internet allowances and other school supplies worth P3,500 per semester, among others.

A scholar may opt to enroll in a private academic institution of his choice provided that he will shoulder the excess in the total cost of the tuition and other school fees for every semester, where the actual fees are based on the prevailing rate at the University of the Philippines.

Paje said recipients of the scholarship grant are required to only take up courses “relevant to the DENR’s strategic thrusts, plans and priority programs” such as environmental science, forestry, geodetic engineering, geology, mining engineering, chemical engineering, ocean and marine science, and taxonomy.

Other perks that scholars may enjoy include thesis allowance amounting to P10,000; reimbursable amount of up to P10,000 for graduation expenses, including diploma fee, yearbook, toga rental, graduation picture and other relevant expenses; and two paid round-trip tickets per year to allow the scholars to return to their hometown during semestral breaks.

Under the terms, a scholar is required to maintain a weighted average of 2.75 or its equivalent to remain in the program.

Scholars will enter into an agreement with the DENR that places them under a service-obligation contract, which calls for a year of government service in the department for every school year of enrolment after graduation.

The scholar-recipient may also work at any national and government institutions, including state universities and colleges. (DENR)