The Masbate Gold Project (MGP) college scholarship program through the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) started with 56 students in 2009; the number of scholars supported under the SDMP has grown to 432 annually in 2018. By far the most sustainable of the six main programs under the SDMP, it has assisted 1,135 students through college and 1,867 through high school; with 486 and 433 having graduated, respectively. There are 305 on-going college scholars and 719 high school scholars.
Of the 486 college graduates, 183 are currently working professionals with 11 of these employed by MGP; 60 as Elementary, High School, Day Care teachers, Alternative Learning System instructors and school aides. Another 12 are office workers in local government units, while the rest are either self-employed or with non-government organizations.
Mr. Hannibal Tamayo, 26 years old, is a scholarship program beneficiary of Barangay Puro, one of the eight impacted communities of the Masbate Gold Project (MGP) “My childhood was difficult; juggling between the requirements of school and earning a living. I had to live in another town with my grandmother so I could go to school. I sold candies, snacks, and even did laundry to survive--every day was a painful struggle.”
April 2009 was when my life took a turn and my dreams started to come true. My mother who peddled food around town, learned about the MGP scholarship program and urged me to come back home and give it a try.”
After four years as an MGP college scholar, Hannibal graduated with a degree in Education, passed the licensure examination in 2014, and qualified as an Elementary School teacher. “Before college, I had reached a point where I wanted to just give up. But MGP’s scholarship program saved me, and gave me another chance at life.”
Mr. Hannibal Tamayo
“I am the first member of my clan to earn a college degree,” he proudly declares. “As the family bread winner, I have sent two of my siblings to college; one brother now works at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila, another is in 3rd year College taking up Automotive Technology. My parents are now owners of a small convenience store in our village.”
While a percentage of SDMP scholarship beneficiaries migrate outside of Masbate to work in other government or private organizations, most of these graduates stay to teach in their former primary and secondary schools, taking pride in their achievement and giving back to their communities through dedicated service and involvement in other community concerns also, aside from teaching.
Gilbert Pusing, 25 years old is the 6th child in the family. His father supported the family through artisanal mining. His parents had always wanted him to become an engineer, he was urged to study hard and take a different path away from the perils of artisanal mining. He took studies seriously and graduated in high school as the class valedictorian. This achievement earned him a slot in MGP’s college scholarship program and enabled him to study Civil Engineering in Masbate City.
“My family encountered a lot of financial problems. With the help of MGP, my life became easier. I don’t have to worry about my tuition fees and monthly allowance. It helped me focus on my goal.”
In 2014, Gilbert passed the board exam and true to his parent’s dream, he is currently working as an engineer with the Department of Public Works & Highways.
Locals who have made it are looked up to as models; providing the inspiration to both parents and young students who also aspire to start a path of advancement for their families, through education. The greatest legacy of MGP in the 8 impact communities would be a new generation of young professionals.