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Be inspired – Your Mayor is a SPES baby
Thu, Oct 02, 2014 (Source: ICFO)
Isabela City, Basilan. “I extend my appreciation to Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar and DOLE for granting me this opportunity to work and earn. I met new friends and practice time management during our work at the City Human Resource Management Office” an impression uttered by Jesus Untod, a SPES baby and a student from Basilan State College. Untod was one of the fifty student-grantees of the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) under the LGU Isabela City in a simple turn-over of checks ceremony to student-beneficiaries held last August 5, 2014 at the Isabela City Hall Lobby.

Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar graced the event as the Employer-Sponsor. In her desire to inspire the SPES student and scholars, she shared her life story – pains, gains and personal journey leading her to be the 1st lady Chief Executive of the City of Isabela.

Early in her childhood days, Mayor Cherry, as she is fondly called, already demonstrated entrepreneurial skills – engaging in the sale/vending of ice water and ice candy during basketball games, guavas, retail paper and yema in school and even sold gasoline by the bottle to help her Mama Jeng to sustain the daily needs of the family.

To everybody’s surprise, she revealed that she is also a SPES baby having availed of the program on two summer breaks during the Administration of Mayor Leonardo A. Pioquinto. Making her twin-vacation fruitful, she vividly recalled being assigned to sweep the sidewalks of the city and in maintaining coastal clean-up at barangay Sumagdang. “Bien alegre lang kame antes, nuay keber na mga itsura, nuay gadgets – armed only with our eskoba and hilamun (We were so happy, not minding how we look, without even gadgets, but armed only with brooms and gardening knife) – we clean the streets of the city and along Sumagdang area under the heat of the sun – but we enjoyed our work.

Finishing her studies as a working student, mayor shared the values of hard work, determination and perseverance as key to pursue studies and goals in life. “Dapat madiskarte tayo sa buhay; dapat maging practical tayo”, says Mayor Cherry, who at 38 maintains her charm and beauty gamely narrates and connects well with students and teens.

“The City Government is working with partners; we thank DOLE for continuously implementing pro-poor program from livelihood, to SPES to skills registry system in providing the needed assistance to our constituents, “as she closed her impromptu speech.

The Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) is mandated under Republic Act No. 9547 which aims to develop the intellectual capacities of children of poor families and harness their potentials. Specifically, the Program aims to help poor but deserving students pursue their education by providing income opportunities through encouraging their employment during summer and/or Christmas vacations.

Reported by: Marcelina B. Arcaya, DOLE Isabela and PESO Manager Otilla W. Ricablanca

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