Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Zambales students get educational assistance

By Bebot Sison Jr.
The Philippine Star

IBA, Zambales — Stressing that education is the most effective tool to combat poverty, President Arroyo awarded P15 million in educational assistance to students from 45 schools in this province last week.

The fund, which was taken from the Philippine Development Assistance Program, will benefit more than 23,300 students in Zambales’ second district through the scholarship program of Rep. Antonio Diaz.

"Education is our key to rising from poverty," the President told some 6,000 students at the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU), the only university in Zambales.

She added that with the passage of several revenue-enhancing measures that recently improved the economy, the government can now give more benefits to the people.

In the same occasion, Mrs. Arroyo led the inauguration of the RMTU College of Law and the groundbreaking of the proposed two-story graduate school and dormitory building.

She was assisted by Diaz, Zambales first district Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, Gov. Vicente Magsaysay, and RMTU president Feliciano Rosete.

According to Rosete, the P8-million College of Law building is a project of former Zambales second district Rep. Ruben Torres, Speaker Jose de Venecia and the RMTU.

The building for the RMTU graduate school and dormitory will be constructed with a P16-million fund from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

In her speech to RMTU students, Mrs. Arroyo promised to release a P500-million scholarship fund for poor but deserving high school students throughout country for the school year 2006-2007.

She also challenged the students here to lead the research on mango technology, reminding them that mangoes produced in the province could be exported abroad and help improve the local economy.

Aside from the educational assistance, the President also brought more good news to Zambaleños during her brief visit to the province.

After the unveiling and groundbreaking ceremonies, Mrs. Arroyo distributed some 16,000 PhilHealth cards to indigent households in 11 municipalities in the province’s second district.

She also announced the signing of a $1-billion project in the nearby Subic Bay Freeport Zone, where the South Korean company Hanjin Heavy Industries will put up the fourth-largest shipbuilding facility in the world.

"The good news is that the agreement between Hanjin and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will result in the creation of 15,000 new jobs in Subic," Mrs. Arroyo said.

"We have been preparing for this investment for a long time," she said. The project was delayed though because the Korean company required that a road leading to the site of the $1-billion project be built first.

Mrs. Arroyo said South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun followed up on the road project during his three-day state visit last December.

She said the government was only too happy to put up the road project so that the shipbuilding facility could be established.

"We released P150 million for the road in exchange for the $1-billion investment," the President said.


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