“Without the scholarship, I would not be able to finish my studies. I will forever be grateful to DOLE,” were the words of James A. Betito, a Workers Organization and Development Program (WODP) scholar in Surigao del Norte.

James became a WODP scholar in 2018 when his father, Celso O. Betito, was still working as Heavy Equipment Operator in Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC)— one of the mining companies operating in Claver, Surigao del Norte. His father, the president of the National Federation Labor Union-Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), a registered labor union in PGMC, applied James for a scholarship under WODP. With good grades during his secondary education, James qualified for the WODP Isabelo Delos Reyes (IDR) Scholarship Grant.

Under the IDR scholarship, James was entitled to a total of a P224,500.00 grant for his 4-year college education. This comprises of P92,000.00 for the tuition including miscellaneous fees, and a stipend of P132,500.00.

According to James, the financial assistance sustained his college education, especially since his father’s employment contract ended and was not renewed in the same year after he received the scholarship. During the pandemic, the monthly allowance of P3,500.00 received from the scholarship allowed him to buy a laptop and other necessary equipment for his online class. He was also able to pay for his internet connection.

With diligence and hard work, James graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree last June 2022 at St. Paul University-Surigao City. He stressed that his journey with his education would not be possible without his parents as his inspiration and the opportunity provided by DOLE.

“I pray that more blessings would come to DOLE. Programs like the educational grant thru WODP are a big help for us students whose parents could not afford to send us to college. It gives us hope for our dreams and aspirations, especially for our family,” James added when asked about his entire experience as a WODP scholar.

James plans to study law in the future. He is also open to working in the department if the opportunity arises.

WODP is a mechanism in DOLE that facilitates strengthening trade unions and other workers’ organizations. It also provides educational opportunities to union officers and members including their dependents for self-development, growth, and being an effective change agent in their organization and their personal life.