/ 28 August 2020

MAGSASAKA Partylist Rep. Argel Joseph Cabatbat is seeking to establish an agricultural scholarship and return service program for deserving students.

In filing House Bill 7389 or the proposed Agricultural Scholarship and Return Service Act, Cabatbat stressed that the current health crisis caused by the Covid19 pandemic has one very chilling outcome – the impending global food shortage.

The proposed measure aims to establish an agricultural scholarship and return service program to deserving students seeking a profession in agriculture and shall render government service in this field.

“There shall be established Agricultural Scholarship and Return Service Program for deserving students in State Universities and Colleges or in private higher education institutions offering degree or non-degree programs in agriculture, fisheries, livestock and poultry raising, animal husbandry, and other agriculture-related courses,” the bill read.

The program shall provide financial assistance to students including matriculation and other school fees; prescribed books, supplies and equipment allowance; clothing or uniform allowance; research allowance; dormitory or boarding house rental allowance with one-time relocation allowance to scholars who have to study outside their region; and transportation allowance.

It will also cover internship, graduation, and board review fees as well as one-time round-trip fare to and from the place of residence to be given at the start and end of the scholarship period.

Under the measure, the scholar shall render the mandatory return service for a period equivalent to not less than two years for non-degree course program, or four years for degree course program, or five years for a degree program with required board licensure examination, or one year for every scholarship year availed.

A person who has availed of the scholarship program but fails or refuses to comply with the mandatory return service in a government-accredited agricultural facility or enterprise shall be required to pay twice the full cost of scholarship, including other benefits and expenses incurred under the program.