■ Ofelia C. Empian
As a means of giving recognition to academic achievers, the municipality of Kabayan, Benguet passed an ordinance honoring topnotchers in board and Bar examinations, including those who graduate with academic honors.
In the ordinance authored by Councilor Shelanie Luciap, the municipality will give cash incentives to honor graduates from any tertiary or college awarded as summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude.
Also to be given incentives are those who will graduate in the top 10 in the Philippine Military Academy, Philippine National Police Academy, and the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy.
Likewise, to be given incentives are passers of Bar, board, and other national examinations.
The giving of cash incentives is one way of recognizing the hardships of honor graduates and top examinees and a way of gratitude for the pride they brought to the municipality.
“This will encourage and inspire the future generations to excel in their studies and in their chosen field, and to strive harder in reaching their goals in life,” Luciap said.
The ordinance states that passers of Bar, board and other national exams shall receive P2,000; summa cum laude – P3,000; magna cum laude – P2,500; and top 10 or cum laude – P2,000.
The achievers shall also be recognized by the municipality through a certificate of recognition from the committee on awards during the foundation day celebration of Kabayan.
For honor graduates of higher education, they shall submit the following requirements to the office of the mayor: authenticated photocopy of diploma, certification of the school where they graduated as honor students, and certificate of residency issued by the punong barangay.
Passers of board or Bar exams and other national exams are required to present a photocopy of the certificate from the Supreme Court, Professional Regulatory Commission, or the agency that conducted the exams, and certificate of residency issued by the punong barangay.
The qualified applicants must submit the requirements within one year after graduation or passing the exams. Honor graduates may avail twice, after passing the Bar or board exams or any national exams.
A verification committee led by the mayor with the vice chair of the municipal council committee on education shall assess the authenticity of documents submitted.
The municipality shall allot P500,000 for the implementation of the ordinance under the general fund and shall be included in the annual budget.
The Benguet provincial board has favorably reviewed the municipal ordinance, which was unanimously passed by the municipal council.
Prior to the passage of the cash incentive ordinance, Kabayan has an existing policy, Ordinance 88-2016, which institutionalized the recognition system to the top 10 achievers in any board or eligibility exams by the PRC and the Civil Service Commission but it only provided for a plaque of recognition without cash incentives.