Leyte Samar Daily Express

They are now just an inch away towards the realization of their dreams.

This is how Anabel Montes and Cesar Espinosa feel at this moment.


Biliran Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Elisea Orapa (center) pose with “Programang Agraryo Iskolar” recipients Anabel Montes (left) and Cesar Espinosa (right) when the two visited her office after they passed the April 18, 2010 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET). (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA)

The two were recipients of the “Programang Agraryo Iskolar” (formerly the President Diosdado Macapagal Agrarian Scholarship Program or the PDMASP) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Through the said scholarship program, they earned a degree in education at the Naval Institute of Technology (now Naval State University), and were among the more than 11 thousand lucky passers of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) held on April 18 this year.

Both Anabel and Cesar are children of farmers from Biliran province, with ricefields serving as their playgrounds during their childhood days.

Both are children of agrarian reform beneficiaries, the reason why they qualified to avail of the scholarship program extended by the DAR. Their farmer-parents had dreamed of having them finish college education, as their legacy

Anabel, 22, from Barangay Larrazabal in Naval, whose father, Antonio Montes, is a recipient of the government’s land transfer program under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), dreamed of becoming a teacher.

The youngest among three siblings with parents financially hard up, she was able to pursue college education through the then PDMASP, taking up Bachelor in Elementary Education, major in Pilipino.

But for Cesar, 22, son of Santos Espinosa, another CARP beneficiary from Barangay Burabod in Biliran town and also the youngest in a brood of three, to become a policeman was his childhood fantasy.

Poverty forced him to shift interest and took up a course in college that was less expensive.

Though he qualified to avail of the scholarship program offered by the DAR, Cesar said the budget was limited and not sufficient to finance the numerous school requirements, thus he enrolled and was able to graduate a degree in Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Math.

Now, Anabel and Cesar’s next step is to apply for a slot at the Department of Education in order to serve in public schools.

Although Cesar now earns on a commission basis as provincial coordinator of Rasti Review Institute, finding a regular job is much better, according to him. He hopes that very soon he will get hired as a teacher in one of the public schools in Biliran.

With this development, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO) Elisea Orapa beams with pride, saying that DAR’s effort was not put in vain.

According to her, in the conceptualization of this scholarship program, DAR believed that there are jewels in the farm that just need to be polished like diamonds in order to shine.

Orapa further said that these scholars could also be of big help to us in the smooth implementation of the CARP by simply assisting their illiterate co-villagers understand the laws on agrarian reform as well as in the values formation for a successful implementation of the program.

For Anabel, Cesar and their parents, dreams do come true even to those who have less in life. It is just a matter of grabbing opportunities. They are thankful that the opportunity landed on them that could change the fate of their families. And they believe this is now the start for a better life. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA)

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