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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Balanga eyes P500-M scholarship fund

BALANGA CITY, Bataan — In another laudable step towards boosting its education program for the poor, Mayor Joet S. Garcia has revealed that his administration will raise P500-million for the Balanga City University Foundation.

The new revelation on scholarship program of Mayor Garcia drew applause from the jampacked Lou-is restaurant where the employees of the provincial capitol were celebrating their Christmas program.

This is the first time an education program for poor but deserving students was launched in Balanga and comes at a time when tuition fees and other school expenditures are rising uncontrollably.

An information technology expert and former professor before joining local politics, Garcia pointed out that they will target to raise the P500 million in the next five years even as he appealed to Good Samaritans, business sectors and other individuals to help them raise the amount for the sake of the poor students of Bataan.

The young mayor is a son of Gov. Enrique “Tet” Garcia and younger brother of Bataan 2nd district Rep. Abet S. Garcia who have expressed all-out support for the scholarship program.

So far, Mayor Garcia said Balanga spends at least P12-million yearly for its scholarship program while the provincial government and Representative Garcia also provide P72-million yearly for the program.

Under the scheme, Mayor Garcia pointed out the amount raised for the foundation and the scholarship program will be invested in a trust fund to enable it to earn more for the benefit of more scholars.

“We are expecting that the fund will earn more or less P50 million a year, then the amount borrowed from sponsors will in turn be also returned to them after 10 years,” said Mayor Garcia.

“Maraming generous individual at businessmen na gustong tumulong sa ating scholarship program dahil alam rin nila na para ito sa mga mahihirap na gustong mag-aral na bata,” said Garcia.

Mayor Garcia was also the architect for the successful establishment of the recently opened Galeria Victoria Mall, the biggest commercial establishment put up in Balanga.

The Mall was put up by businessman and construction magnate Jerry Acuzar, a native of this city, through the Public Private Partnership program of the government.

Mayor Garcia said the city spent nothing on the Mall but will earn millions of pesos in rentals.

Meanwhile, when Governor Enrique “Tet” Garcia started initiating various improvements and upgrading efforts in the once neglected Bataan General Hospital (BGH), critics started looking for loopholes in the initiatives.

However, this did not prevent Governor Garcia from pursuing the improvements of BGH in the interest of the public service.

“The problem with our political opponents is that every time I introduced upgrading and other forms of improvement in the BGH in our bid to further serve the patients, our critics will always hit us back simply because this (efforts of mine) will further add to our political stock while their (political foes) will also certainly wane,” said Garcia.

Garcia said he will continue to seek improvements for the BGH in the face of criticism to help the public, particularly badly sick patients.

During a recent meeting between the governor and the personnel of the government-owned BGH, it was agreed that the head of BGH, Dr. Ria Baltazar, is incorruptible and a determined worker when it comes to helping patients, but is severely hampered by the deeply divided politics of its employees.

BGH doctors, nurses, and office staff have all signified to work for unity and the interest of hospital patients and the general public..

“We have to wake up not for our own interest but for the public good,” Garcia told the personnel.

The governor’s remarks came after a doctor was accused of allegedly “pirating” patients here and forcibly bringing them to her own private hospital where she can charge them with exorbitant professional fees, among others.

“Sinasabi nila, politika lang daw pag may nagagawa tayong mabuti. Natural lalakas ang political stock natin, samantalang ang mga kalaban natin ay wala; nasasagasaan at insecured nga sila,” said Garcia whose speech was several times disrupted by applause from the personnel. (Mar T. Supnad)

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