The Muntinlupa Scholarship Program (MSP) is the forerunner of the educational assistance programs of the City Government of Muntinlupa under the Office of the Mayor. The MSP facilitates the creation of criteria, receipt of application, screening, and selection up to the monitoring of scholars. It recommends ways and undertakes strategies to enhance and improve the scholarship program and its services. The new expanded MSP disseminates scholarship information through a website and a text (or short message service) blast and processes scholarship requirements through a web portal. With just one click, all scholars will be able to receive official announcements from the MSP thus, allowing a more secure and official information dissemination mechanism. It also promotes an operational and hassle-free scholarship disbursement process (from application to monitoring and disbursement of allowances) through the use of a card.
Background and Problem
The MSP aims to stimulate, encourage, and uphold its objectives to prepare the students for a better life in the future and serve as role models of their generation—physically, mentally, socially, morally, and spiritually. It extends educational and financial support to those who cannot afford to pay for their education but willing to finish their studies, and those who excel academically in school. However, potential scholars in Muntinlupa City are often unfamiliar with the available scholarships and have difficulty in searching opportunities which result to lagging behind competitors or inability to meet deadlines for the application process. Information on the scholarship requirements and its mode of submissions are also some of the delaying (if not hindering) factors in successfully applying for scholarship programs. Some scholarship programs also have a problem with regard to releasing scholarship disbursements due to regulatory restrictions that usually direct to disbursement delays and add stress to the accepted scholar.
Solution and Impact
The expanded scholarship, enacted by City Ordinance 15-099, introduced the merit-based granting of scholarships. Muntinlupa City also worked on integrating the scholarship program to the Muntinlupa Care Card Program for a more efficient database management and allowance disbursement with just a tap on POS (Point of Sale) terminals. This technology was the very first in the country. The City also established a website that acts as the gateway for efficient information dissemination and application procedures. This innovation helps save the environment as it requires paperless transactions, saves time, and eliminates the need for scholars to be absent in their respective classes. Aside from the website, the people of Muntinlupa City also have access to scholarship announcements and disbursements through a Facebook page, making information dissemination adaptive and easier to broadcast.
The MSP is also committed in implementing and complying with ISO-9001:2008 quality management system policies. It constantly reviews and takes heart the objectives of the City Government’s established quality improvement programs to be able to keep abreast with the new and increasing demands and new challenges in public service.
The MSP is being implemented since the approval of the City Scholarship Ordinance through the three divisions of the Program, namely: (1) the Administrative, (2) Scholarship Management and Special Projects, and (3) the Research and Advocacy Divisions. All these divisions as well as the staff members are knowledgeable in these processes, specifically in the care of files and records of the office, processing of papers of applicants, financial assistance disbursements, and the profiling and organization of scholars. The MSP also regularly conducts process improvement seminars and recalibration of the technical skills and knowhow of each personnel to adapt with the growing demand for public service. The expanded MSP was adapted from the Taguig City Scholarship Program as proof of the City’s continuous effort to benchmark and network with other local government units (LGUs), foster camaraderie, and further improve on other cities’ best practices. The MSP eventually expanded the grants to more than 12,000 elementary and high school beneficiaries, making it the most inclusive scholarship program in the country.
The project also benchmarked with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to better understand their process and be responsive in aiding the agency in providing more scholarships to students who were unfortunate to make it to the DOST-Science Education Institute Qualifying Exams cut. Through regular surveys conducted within Muntinlupa local offices and its constituents, the MSP was discovered to be the most efficient and appreciated program of the City Government of Muntinlupa. It was also awarded by the City Government of Muntinlupa Anti-Graft Board for complying with Republic Act 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.