“Never give up. Once you give up, you lose,’ advised Diether J. Catigan, a Workers Organization Development Program (WODP) scholar, who graduated Cum Laude from Carlos Hilado Memorial State University at Bacolod City with a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship Degree.
Diether was born to a poor family at Brgy. Salvacion, Murcia, Negros Occidental. He is the third of the five siblings and the first to get a bachelor’s degree.
Buckled with the aspiration to earn a degree and to find a decent job, he never stops pursuing his dreams despite of the hardship in life.
His father is a construction worker and his mother works in a sugarcane plantation. The family’s economic condition motivated him to strive more. He grabbed every opportunity that could help him in his studies, and luckily enough, he came across with Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)-WODP scholarship.
Thanks to his mother’s membership with the Hacienda Ballesteros Sugarcane Workers Association (HABESWA). It was the key to Diether’s scholarship.
WODP is DOLE’s facilitating mechanism in strengthening workers’ organization. It provides an opportunity for systemic learning and growth aiming at greater productivity, prosperity and welfare to the employer, workers’ organization and its members and their dependents.
“The WODP scholarship is helpful to poor students like me. With the scholarship, I do not depend solely on my parents’ income for my allowance, project outputs and research works. My parents did not worry much for my school needs,” he shared.
The Isabelo Delos Reyes Scholarship, a 4-year educational grant under the WODP, provided Diether with a full tuition fee, book allowance and a monthly stipend of P3,500.
The benefits he enjoyed also provided him enough time to participate in school events. He is also a staff of the school publication and a sports coordinator.
Apart from the financial assistance, the WODP also nurtured Diether to learn and to gain experiences while working with the DOLE RO 6- Negros Occidental Field Office. His engagement with DOLE when he was still a scholar fueled his interest in public service.
Taking one step at a time and believing in DOLE’s commitment in shaping the graduates for public service, he applied as an intern under the DOLE- Government Internship Program (DOLE-GIP).
“Bata pa naman ako,” he said, “I want to learn more.”
At the right moment, Diether includes in his priority list the construction of their house, the support to his parents and the education of his two sisters.
He has proven it once. And he will do it again. Diether will not stop dreaming until it is fulfilled.
Regional Director Atty. Sixto T. Rodriguez, Jr. extended his greetings to the scholars who made it this year. “We extend our congratulations to the WODP scholars who graduated this year and to Mr. Catigan for graduating with flying colors. We are happy that you made the most out of the services we offer you.”
RD Rodriguez further emphasized the importance of membership to a legitimate and DOLE-recognized workers’ organization that provides opportunities and looks into the welfare of its members and their dependents. (JPM/YAS)