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They were the first recipients of the medical scholarship grant offered by the local government of Davao. Now that they are professional doctors after passing the Physician Licensure Examination in September, they want to give back.

One of the successful scholars, Subanen lumad Jenny Adtoon, said she wants to serve the people of Davao as her way of showing gratitude for the opportunity given to her as a recipient of the medical scholarship program under the Davao City Government’s Educational Benefits System Unit (EBSU).

She said she would not be able to finish her last two years in medical school if it were not for the scholarship grant.

“I want to serve the government and the people of Davao. Had it not been for the opportunity given to me, it would have been more difficult for me to finish medicine,” she said.

She recalled how she struggled through her medical studies because of the expensive school fees.

“The people around would know how difficult it was for me. But the same difficulty made me strong,” she said. “And I am extremely thankful for the opportunity given to me by the City Government of Davao.”

Just like Adtoon, a lumad from the Bagobo tribe, Jeannie Marie Salmasan, was thankful for the grant.

“I don’t think I would be able to take medicine had it not been for the grant,” she said. “My parents could not afford to send me to a medical school. For my entire medical education, EBSU has financially assisted me.”

Salmasan said she wants to serve the people of Paquibato.

“I used to work in Paquibao and I promised myself and the people that should I make it, I will serve the community,” she said. “It would be a wonderful opportunity to serve the people of Paquibato District.”

As a lumad, she said, serving lumad communities is a personal mission.

“I come from the Bagobo tribe, and the biggest thing that I could contribute to the government is to help the tribe,” she said.

Another passer was Irvin Paul Parada, was also grateful for being a scholarship grantee.

The scholarship covered tuition and annual cash allowance of P20,000 for books and other school needs.

The mother of a 9-month-old son, Adtoon said the challenges she faced did not stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a medical doctor.

For Salmasan, a dreamer like her should stop at nothing to pursue their dreams.

“If it is their dream, they must pursue it excellently, giving their best in everything,” she said.

Since 2016, the administration of Mayor Inday Sara Duterte has been supporting 50 medicine students.

Currently, there are 1,904 EBSU scholars taking different courses in different Colleges and universities in Davao City. CIO