Party-list rep files ‘agripreneur’ scholarship bill

BW FILE PHOTO

A PARTY-LIST representative for the agriculture sector filed a bill that aims to encourage students to pursue a degree in agriculture, forestry and fisheries through a scholarship program. 

House Bill (HB) 2419 or the proposed Agripreneurs Scholarship Program Act aims to establish an ‘Integrated Agripreneurs Scholarship Program in state-owned universities and colleges (SUCs). 

“Aside from investments to agriculture infrastructure and equipment, we must give equal importance to integrated efforts in investing in education and training among the youth so they acquire the latest agricultural principles and techniques,” AGRI Party-list Wilber T. Lee said in a statement on Monday.

“We want to encourage more students to take up agricultural interests and possibly earn degrees,” he said. 

Under the bill, the scholarship program would cover tuition; allowances for books, uniform, and dormitory; internship fees; licensure exam fees; and living allowance.

To qualify, a student must be a natural-born citizen, have an insufficient family income to fund a college education, be a senior high school graduating student and already passed an entrance examination in an SUC.

The bill also includes a ‘mandatory return service program’ wherein fresh scholar graduates will serve in public agricultural institutions accredited by the Department of Agriculture.  

“(The) mandatory return service program (seeks) to help improve the agricultural system of the country,” Mr. Lee said.

In July, Mr. Lee also filed HB 1295 or the proposed Free Tertiary Agricultural Education Act, which seeks to provide scholarship programs specifically for children of indigent farmers. 

“On my proposed HB 1295, we seek to provide scholarships for children of farmers and fisherfolk. We want them to be incentivized to continue farming,” Mr. Lee told BusinessWorld. “Even with the free tuition law, farmers and fisherfolk still find it hard to send their children to college because of other school-related expenses,” he said. 

“While HB 2419 is open to all students whose family income is not sufficient to support tertiary education,” he said. “This measure also seeks to provide cash grant programs to agripreneur scholars who wish to venture and establish their agribusinesses.” — Kyanna Angela Bulan