FORMER president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday appealed to President Aquino to spare her scholars from politics after the Department of Social Welfare and Development terminated the scholarship grants of three former Payatas scavengers who had been dubbed “Bangkang Papel Boys” during her administration.
Arroyo’s spokesman, Elena Bautista-Horn, said the DSWD under Secretary Corazon Soliman has stopped releasing funds under the PGMA Educational Assistance Program.
Malacañang was quick to reply that the DSWD will continue to provide two of the three boys full scholarships to enable them to finish their college studies even as it hinted that there was more to the issue than was being publicly said.
The Bangkang Papel Boys – Erwin Dolera, Jason Vann Banogan and Jomar Pabalan – aged eight to 10 then, were presented by President Arroyo during her first state of the nation address in 2001 after they supposedly wrote letters about their need for education, food, housing and employment after the closure of the Payatas dumpsite, and made their letters into paper boats to reach Arroyo in Malacañang.
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