MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles, Manila Bureau) – As if the recent announcements that beginning next year, students will no longer pay tuition at state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines weren’t enough, the Duterte administration today revealed that aspiring Filipino journalists will be provided full scholarships at private institutions.
The free tuition at SUCs is made possible following the realignment of P8.3 billion in the 2017 budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The Senate realigned the P8.3-billion allocation to cover tuition of students in SUCs during the Senate deliberations on the 2017 budget. It reportedly came from the infrastructure budget for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which was questioned by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and dubbed as a form of pork barrel.
It wasn’t clear where the scholarship funds for journalists will come from, but the Presidential Communications Office said that they will be available beginning in the next school semester.
The idea of journalism scholarships came from ordinary citizens after they complained to Malacañang (presidential palace) that they can no longer rely on media like ABS-CBN, GMA-7, Inquirer, Rappler as well as other “news blogs” like that of Raissa Robles for unbiased and accurate news. The citizens also said that they are sick and tired of insignificant and sensational news headlines directed at the Duterte administration as well as the members of the opposition. They added that many local media outlets are responsible for feeding false information to international news media.
In order to qualify for the four-year journalism scholarships, the applicants must be high school graduates, Filipino or dual citizens, and must write a 300-word essay listing the accomplishments of the Duterte administration since the president took over on June 30 this year.
A second essay, which will help determine the final list of scholarship recipients, must be submitted along with the application. The second essay should deal on the topic, “Why the Previous Aquino Administration Failed the Filipino People.” There is no word limit for the second essay.
Reacting to the good news, popular bloggers Mocha Uson, Thinking Pinoy and Sass Rogando Sasot promised that once the first batch of journalism scholars finish their course, they will cease publishing their blogs.