For Learose Royo, education is not merely about the diploma, it’s a ticket for her family to get out of poverty.
When asked why she decided to pursue her studies despite her parents’ hesitation to send her off to college, she simply responds: “To help my parents send my two younger siblings to college, because I am a firm believer that the only way to get out of poverty is through education.”
Born in San Roque, a remote barangay accessible only aboard a 1-hour boat ride from the town proper of Jipapad, Eastern Samar, Learose can be described as a passionate and dedicated individual simply by listening to her recounting of challenging but inspiring experiences, much like somebody else who was born into a poverty-stricken family.
With both parents not being able to reach high school, providing for the family was a huge burden. The income of Tatay Oliver as a rice/coconut farmer is sometimes not sufficient to buy even their basic needs, what more sending their eldest to college.
The family was previously a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) until Learose graduated high school.
By saving a portion of the monthly 4Ps financial assistance, Learose’s mother, Nanay Delly, put up a small sari-sari store, its small earnings a great addition to the family's meager income.
“In spite of my parents’ educational attainment, I have witnessed their sacrifices in order for us to get through every day. So I told myself, our situation will remain like this if I will not pursue college,” said the first year BS Entrepreneurship student.
Both parents were clueless about her next step. With the help of a friend who lent her a laptop, Learose found herself online-registering to take the college entrance examination at the Eastern Samar State University (ESSU) – Borongan Campus.
Nanay Delly was shocked when Learose asked money for her fare to Borongan City to take the exam. She expressed worry about them not being able to sustain Learose’s schooling.
But determined to reach her goal, Learose convinced her mother that they will provide for her allowance, uniform, and lodging expenses only as there are no more tuition fees in college.
And the rest is history.
According to Learose, it was nerve-wracking being the first in their family to leave for University but it was exciting and challenging at the same time.
“I’ve known from a very young age that I wanted to go to a University and move away from home, as much as I love the farm,” she added.
She shared that the first few months in college were hard at first since her allowance for the whole month was only P600 while recalling going home only once during their fiesta celebration since the classes started on August 1 in order to save the fare instead.
“My parents would send vegetables for me whenever somebody studying here in ESSU goes home to San Roque, that way, I can save more money here,” Learose confessed.
Situations like that of Learose inspired Eastern Samar Governor Ben P. Evardone to visualize an educational assistance program that aims to assure that in every Estehanon family, there should be one professional with a permanent job who will help alleviate the economic plight of their family and secure education for their younger siblings.
With Governor Ben’s vision in mind, Emmanuel Arago crafted the mechanics and details of the program; conducted meetings and orientations; and led the screening and processing of documents until the vision becomes the Isang Propesyonal, Isang Pamilya Program (IPIPP), which was officially launched on September 30, 2022.
According to Arago, Focal Person of IPIPP, the program targets those from far-flung, economically-challenged barangays in the province.
Through this program, IPIPP scholars like Learose will receive P3,000 monthly allowance until they graduate from the program of their choice.
Furthermore, Arago shared that IPIP Program does not stop at giving financial assistance to scholars but will also shoulder their review center expenses should they take a licensure examination, and eventually help them find a job afterwards.
Along with the 413 IPIPP scholars, Learose received a total amount of P6,000, her allowance for two months, from the Office of Governor Ben P. Evardone during the program’s official launching on September 30.
Continually driven by her dreams of alleviating the status of her family, Learose shared that one of her friends offered her to become a retailer of ice candy, to which she happily said "yes" as it is a good source of income while studying.
Indeed, dreams does not become a reality through magic. It take sweat, determination, and hardwork. (MMP/VTG/SDC/PIA E.Samar)