MANILA, Philippines -- Attention, young people not more than 21 years old. If you want to be a seafarer, you can be one of 300 who can avail of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri's Study Now Pay Later scholarship program at the Cebu-based Southwestern University.
Applicants for the scholarship should have a weighted average grade of 85 percent in their fourth year for high school students, or 2.5 or better in the last semester for college transferees. Their parents or guardians should have a gross annual income of not more than P150,000, Zubiri said in a statement Saturday.
"Students or cadets will spend their first three years on campus. On the fourth year, training will continue on board foreign vessels and students will receive a monthly allowance from $300 to $500, the current standard rate. After the apprenticeship, they will return on campus to conclude their training and prepare for the board exam," he said.
Scholars, who will get support for school and program fees, uniform, books, lodging, food, laundry, and healthcare, are also assured of jobs after schooling.
"The scholars will enjoy guaranteed employment upon graduation," Zubiri said, noting that SWU has inked separate memorandum of agreements with three companies with a combined fleet of 1,000 ships: Centrophil Shipping, Hamonia Shipping, and Univan Shipping.
He said the scholarship program fits with the world demand for Filipino seafarers.
"Filipinos are very much in demand. Globalization has heightened trade and maritime transport needs to the extent that the industry needs at least 50,000 new maritime officers in the next seven years," Zubiri said.
"Maritime powers in Europe, especially the Scandinavian countries which have extensive cargo, fishing, and cruise fleets, can barely fill their demand for fully-trained officers and crew," he added.
Zubiri said his SNPL program requires beneficiaries who have paid off their loans to sponsor at least one scholar in return; SWU, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and shipping and manning companies to create a special curriculum and set up high schools preparatory to maritime college education; and principal and interest collection to be funneled back to the program.
He said screening and test schedules are as follows: Zamboanga, May 16 and 17; Davao, May 13 and 14; and Cagayan de Oro, May 10 and 11; Bacolod, May 10 and 11; Bohol, May 16 and 17; Tacloban, May 13 and 14; and Cebu, every day.