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The Commission on Higher Education – Caraga Regional Office (CHED Caraga) conducted the release of Student Monetary Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Grants to student beneficiaries in three (3) Districts and two (2) Partylists from January 10-26, 2024 in partnership with the Local Congressional Districts, Partylist Representatives and key officials.

The SMART Program is a financial assistance program that provides a one-time fixed grant of Php 25,000 to qualified undergraduate student beneficiaries for Academic Year 2023-2024 as part of the strategies implemented under the National Employment Recovery Strategy, which is increasing the success of students to graduate through scholarship despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The releasing of cheques were conducted in the following districts for the month of January 2024: Dumper Partylist on January 10th, Surigao Del Sur 2nd District on January 19th, Dinagat Province on January 25th, and Surigao Del Norte 1st District and Tingog Partylist on January 26th.

Overseeing the release of cheques were CHED Caraga OIC Regional Director Ms. Alma Sy-Patron, OIC Chief Administrative Officer Ms. Geselle M. Francisco, Supervising Education Program Specialist Ms. Noeme Rose D. Mani, Administrative Officer III Mr. Francis D. Ilagan, Administrative Aide III Ms. Haemaccel I. Palima, Education Supervisor II Mr. Amy C. Saavedra, and Scholarship Unit Support Personnel Ms. Anilou Cabarrubias.

For each cheque release, a brief program was conducted wherein the OIC Regional Director as well as the Congressmen of their respective districts gave inspirational messages to the student beneficiaries. Selected SMART beneficiaries were also able to express messages of gratitude upon receipt of their SMART grant.

Mr. Wilmer Pequin, Dumper Caraga Coordinator, represented Congresswoman Claudine Bautista Lim during the release of checks on January 10th at CHED Caraga Regional Office. Surigao Del Sur 2nd District Representative Congressman Johnny T. Pimentel was present for the release on January 19th, which was held at the Ericson Gym, Brgy. Poblacion, Bislig. For the Dinagat Province release on January 25th at the CODI Building, Brgy. Wilson, San Jose, Cong. Alan 1 B. Ecleo was represented by Atty. Shirley Vargas. Surigao Del Norte 1st District Representative Cong. Francisco Jose F. Matugas II also represented the Tingog Partylist during the releases on January 26th at the Parkway Hotel, Surigao City in the morning and the Siargao Island Institute of Technology in the afternoon.

CHED Caraga would like to express thanks to the key officials and personnel of the Local and Provincial Government Units, Congressional Offices, as well as the Higher Education Institutions of the aforementioned districts for their cooperation and assistance during the check releases.

With the continued release of the SMART grants in the region to beneficiaries, CHED Caraga remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that quality higher education is accessible.

Credits are duly given to the offices of Cong. Matugas and Cong. Ecleo for the photos of the Siargao, Surigao City, and Dinagat SMART releases respectively.