‘E’ for Excellence

By Rosalie O. Abatayo |April 15,2018 - 10:12 PM

Evelyn Dinopol


For ten years, Evelyn Dinopol’s only prayer was to be given a chance to be in school.

Evelyn, 29, stopped studying right after she got her high school diploma and started working as a production worker in one of the companies at the Mactan Export Processing Zone 2 (Mepz-2) in order to help her parents put food on the table and send her siblings to school.

“I know that it would be very hard if all of us will be studying. It would be better if I work while they study so I can help them financially,” Evelyn said.
Her parents were both farmers from Oslob town, 118 kilometers south of Cebu City.

She was happy seeing her sisters realize their dreams; two graduated in their associate studies while another became a teacher.

But Evelyn too, longed to realize her dream of becoming an educator.

In 2014, Evelyn’s late night prayers were granted as she finally had the chance to study college.

Determined to be a teacher and to inspire young children in her hometown, she took up a degree in Elementary Education at the Cebu Technological University (CTU).

Her outstanding grades and her parents coconut farm became Evelyn’s passport to get a scholarship from the United Coconut Planters Bank – Coconut Industries Investment Fund (UCPB-CIIF) Foundation.

With a tuition subsidy of P6,000 per semester from UCPB-CIIF, an academic discount from her university for her the weighted grade average, and with the support of her siblings, Evelyn hurdled a tough financial battle while studying.

Last April 9, clad in a black toga and a blue academic hood to signify a completed course in Education, Evelyn was all smiles.

She did not only earn her degree, but she also nailed the award of Magna Cum Laude.

The UCPB-CIIF scholars of the Cebu Technological University (CTU) following their graduation ceremony at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel on April 9, 2018 .

“I am so thankful to the UCPB-CIIF foundation because it helped me a lot in finishing my degree. It is, and will always be, a part of what I have become,” Evelyn told Cebu Daily News an hour before she marched across the stage for her graduation.

Evelyn’s story is not strange among children of coconut farmers.

Eleven other children of coconut farmers in the Visayas graduated with Evelyn. Two others were also Magna Cum Laude while five finished as Cum Laude.

Carmelita and Rogelio Ibale, could not hold their tears as their son, Melkie, one of the UCPB scholars graduated Cum Laude.

Melkie, now a Technical Teacher Education graduate, looks forward to teaching in their hometown in Ubay, Bohol.

Ricardo Lepatan Jr., Executive Director of UCPB-CIIF, said that among the members of the agriculture sector, coconut farmers are the least privileged as they have the least education.

“Ang mandate is really to help the coconut farmers … so naisip namin na (so we thought that) the best way to help the farmers is to empower themselves. The best way to empower them is to give their children education,” said Lepatan.

Since 2003, UCPB CIIF has helped over 3,000 children of coconut planters from all over the Philippines to study in state colleges.

Lepatan said that their scholars who have graduated are now helping their families thus preventing parents from selling or pawning their coconut-planted lands.

“It has a multiplier effect. That is what is fulfilling for us. We don’t only help them; but we also teach them how to help themselves and how to help others,” Lepatan said.

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