ILOILO – The provincial government grants scholarship to 22 students, 11 of which are indigenous peoples (IPs), to take up a two-year course in midwifery in New Lucena Polytechnic State College.
The scholarship is tailored-fit to Iloilo’s growing demand for midwives, especially in villages located in geographically-isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) in Calinog, Barotac Viejo, Janiuay and San Joaquin.
The first batch of scholars on midwifery signals the realization of Iloilo’s Provincial Ordinance 2016-128, which was enacted on May 17, 2016 during the 19th regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
The ordinance, sponsored by outgoing Vice Governor Raul Tupas, establishes educational assistance for marginalized and deserving IPs and other members of indigenous cultural community in Iloilo.
These IP scholars are: Riza Libuna, Rica Mae Yangco, Angel Faith Casabuena, Gracil Joy Lizardo, Rona Libuna, Sharmaine Chiva, and Ena Ganancial of Calinog; and Charmie Bernisa, Mae Jean Penafil, Rosalie and Ever Mae Elosendo of Barotac Viejo.
The other scholars in GIDA are Ruthchel Apostol, Belia Marie Brasileno and Ma. Lovely Rose Lastimoso of Janiuay; and Cherry Mae Nieves, Judith Laurente, Jezel An Seidel, Lemuel Savariz, Media Secula, Danica Sargento, Salvacion Sasi, and Sheila Mae Segurigan of San Joaquin.
According to Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Neneth Pador, the province will pay for the full tuition and miscellaneous expenses of the scholars.
They will also have P2,800 stipend monthly, P1,000 book allowance every semester and another P1,000 uniform allowance every year.
She added that they are now proposing for P1.2-million supplemental budget so they can enlist more IPs in the scholarship program.
The scholarship on midwifery is an added feature of Iskolar sang Iloilo Program this year.
It is conceptualized to help fill the shortage of midwives in the province and prevent the incidence of maternal and neonatal deaths in critical and depressed villages.
Dr. Patricia Grace Trabado of the Provincial Health Office proposed the scholarship to Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. last year.
“We do not have enough midwifes to cater to the needs of pregnant and lactating mothers in remote areas and we are hoping that we can put solution to this problem through this program,” said Provincial GIDA Coordinator Marina Imperial.
She cited the case of Barangay Atimunan, the farthest village in Janiuay, where a pregnant mother failed to reach the hospital and died giving birth to her son last year.
Ideally, one midwife is needed in every barangay. In Iloilo, a midwife covers five to seven villages.
Once the scholars passed their licensure exam, Officer-in-Charge Alma Ravena of Human Resource Management and Development Office said that they will be assigned in their respective barangays.
The local government units concerned will also help in the scholars’ job placement, she added.