An elementary pupil at risk of dropping out has been given another chance to continue his studies through the city government’s Gawad Lingap Program, according to Schools Division Superintendent Federico Martin. Martin said the pupil’s father had been admitted to a correctional facility. With the school’s assistance, the learner became one of the recipients of the program. Thereafter, the student was able to maintain high grades in school.

“We were able to save him from dropping out through the Gawad Lingap Program. Now, he is performing very well in school,” Martin said as he expressed his gratitude to the Baguio City Council. Martin said there were similar stories of students who were on the verge of dropping out of school but were able to continue their studies because they were granted financial aid through various programs such as the Gawad Lingap.

The Gawad Lingap Program was launched in 2022 pursuant to a city ordinance that was enacted by the Baguio City Council in the same year. The program seeks to provide monthly allowance to qualified K-12 students in any public elementary and secondary schools and kindergartens in the city. Under the program, qualified students from Kindergarten to Grade Six shall receive P500.00 monthly while qualified students from Grade 7 to Grade 12 shall receive P1,000.00 monthly.

Currently, there are 109 elementary learners and 145 secondary learners who are beneficiaries of the program. Pursuant to the ordinance, a committee has been created consisting of the city mayor as the chairperson, the Schools Division Superintendent as the co-chairperson, Youth Formation Officer of Department of Education-Baguio as the secretary, with other officers of DepEd-Baguio, the Local Youth Development Officer, and the president of Parents and Teachers Association as

The committee is tasked to screen applicants and award the financial assistance to the eligible students. The program is funded under the general fund of the city government under the Schools Division Office (SDO) with a total of at least P2 million for every year and may be increased with the recommendation of the committee. Principally authored by Councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales with Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and Councilor Vladimir Cayabas as co-authors, the ordinance is aimed at lessening absences among the students and addressing the alarming dropout rates in the city by granting financial assistance to qualified students to support their daily school expenses.

According to a study conducted in 2015, the main cause of absenteeism among Baguio learners was financial constraints. Martin said, up to now, poverty remains to be one of the reasons why there are out of school children and teens. Per the SDO’s records, of the 64,472 enrolled students in all public elementary and high schools in the city for School Year 2021-2022, 355 or .55% had dropped out.

The numbers of drop out students for School Year 2021- 2022 per grade level are as follows: Grade 1 (8); Grade 2 (11); Grade 3 (12); Grade 4 (10); Grade 5 (8); Grade 6 (14); Grade 7 (6); Grade 8 (45); Grade 9 (62); Grade 10 (70); Grade 11 (44); and Grade 12 (64).

Jordan G. Habbiling/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon