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The Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) recognized the achievements of its  Iskolar ng mga Bayani, including 61 graduates of Academic Year 2020-2021 and 13 board passers of Batch 2021, in a virtual recognition ceremony held on December 3, 2021.   During the event, which was held via Zoom and broadcasted live through PVAO’s  Facebook page, 45 newly awarded scholars for AY 2021-2022 were also presented.

Among the PVAO scholars recognized during the event is Arch. Patriz Anneveyle Cruz who ranked 4th in the recently concluded 2021 Architect Licensure Examination. In her commencement address, Arch. Cruz expressed her gratitude towards the PVAO and the veterans for being a substantial part of her academic journey. “Let us continue to push through and persevere for I am sure that none of our sufferings will be put in vain,” she reminded her fellow scholars.

PVAO Administrator Usec. Ernesto G. Carolina reassured the continuous implementation of the program to aid in the scholars’ pursuit of a successful career and a fulfilling life. “For all the achievements, we wish to give credit to our scholars’ own hard work and perseverance, and the selfless sacrifice of our veterans who dedicated their precious lives to secure the future. And you, the scholars who we are recognizing today, are the future,” he said.

In his opening remarks, PVAO Deputy Administrator Asec. Raul Z. Caballes also  recognized the challenges that the scholars must have undergone due to the sudden shift to online learning because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. “May the sacrifices of your forefathers continue to be your inspiration as you embark on your new journey and take on new responsibilities,” he urged the graduates and board passers.

The program was also graceded by the Guest of Honor andKeynote Speaker, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, daughter of WWII veteran and former Regional Trial Court Judge of Cadiz City, Sixto Guanzon. In her recorded speech, she mentioned that her brother was also a PVAO scholar and is now a successful heart surgeon. Comm. Guanzon encouraged all scholars to study hard and to serve the nation in the future. “Hindi lamang po ito ordinaryong scholarship. Ang pinunla po dito ng ating mga ama, lolo at ina ay dugo nila at kanilang kalayaan,” she added.

Municipal Trial Court Judge Catherine Baldos of San Andres, Catanduanes also virtually attended the event and gave  an inspirational message. She  recalled how her veteran grandfather would proudly introduce her as a PVAO scholar to his fellow veterans in Abra. She also emphasized the weight of this privilege given to the scholars.

“We must show our appreciation and gratitude to our veterans by believing in ourselves that we can be someone that they can be proud of someday, that we can continue their heroic acts and selfless service to the country and that we can be modern-day heroes when we become this country’s next leaders and defenders,” Judge Baldos concluded.

Iskolars ng mga Bayani or PVAO scholars are beneficiaries of the Educational Benefit Program implemented by PVAO. The said program gives monetary benefits to support the education of the qualified beneficiaries which includes the direct descendants of the veterans. Presently, the educational benefit program has a total of 2,107 beneficiaries.