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By: Juan Carlo M. Manas

“Ang pagtupad sa serbisyo ay dapat may kalidad at katapatan.” A powerful line uttered by DOST IV-A’s Regional Director Dr. Alexander Madrigal in his opening remarks on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 as he welcomes S&T scholarship qualifiers who successfully managed to secure slots in the country’s most eyed, premiere and prestigious science scholarship brand while they ready themselves for the signing of contract in swear to a protracted term of obligation to the country.

 Dr. Madrigal reminded the youth before him the responsibilities they’re about to fulfil as full-pledged S&T scholars. He encouraged the qualifiers to serve their own country first upon making a statement on the extremely high count of scientists who choose career breaks abroad over local opportunities.

According to the Science Education Institute of the Department of Science and Technology, “This year’s qualifiers breached the 3,982 mark of last year’s passers, up by 33 percent, a record for the scholarship program established in 1958. Out of the total number of passers, 4,475 qualified as scholars under the RA 7687 Scholarship Program, scholarships for gifted students who belong to economically disadvantaged families; while 828 passed under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program.”

Dr. Madrigal also stressed that the Department is trying its best to provide the utmost comfort guaranteed by scholarship benefits that will be fully enjoyed by the scholars. In the recent adjustments created by DOST-SEI, “Scholars, as well as those who are ongoing, are set to receive bigger stipends and other allowances starting school year 2015-2016. All DOST-SEI scholars will receive P6,000 monthly stipend (from P5,000) under the Physics/Applied Physics, Geology, Mining Engineering, Agriculture, and Fisheries courses, while under the other DOST-SEI priority courses will receive P5,000 monthly stipend (from P4,000); book allowance of P10,000 per academic year (from P5,000); tuition fee subsidy of P10,000 (from P8,000); and MS/PE clothing allowance of P1,000 (from P500).”

DOST IV-A contributed astounding figures to the national passers’ count with a total of 139 students for the Merit Scholarship Program and 665 for the RA 7687 Scholarship Program, an aggregate of 804 sharp-witted youngins who composed 15% of the “passers’ pie”. The Southern-Tagalog region retains the number 1 spot as the region with the highest head count of qualifiers.

In 2014, there are 573 in CALABARZON who made it above NCR’s 456 qualifiers. Consistently, Region 4A tight grips to the crown winning over National Capital Region who again secured the 2nd spot with 696 passers.

DOST Scholarship program is expected to continue its nation-wide campaign to gather and educate bright minds who are more likely the answer to the country’s decreasing scientist count.