Press Release
July 14, 2019

De Lima commends UP grad for remarkable success despite odds

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has lauded a political science graduate Leo Jaminola of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City for standing out academically despite enduring the struggles and hardships brought about by poverty.

De Lima said she hopes Jaminola's story would not only inspire other students to strive hard but also open the eyes of the government to help improve the plight of the poor through meaningful legislation and its proper implementation.

"Indeed, Leo's path to success is both an inspiration and a challenge to many of us, not only to students like him who belong to poor families, but also to government officials who are in the position to create policies that will empower our citizens, especially our less fortunate countrymen," she said in a handwritten statement.

"Gaya ng panawagan ni Leo, nais niyang magsilbing halimbawa ang kanyang istorya para higit na mabigyang pansin ng gobyerno ang pamumuhunan sa kinabukasan ng ating mga kababayan, partikular na sa edukasyon at kalusugan," she added.

In his Facebook post, Jaminola who recently earned his degree in political science from UP-Diliman shared that he had taken a total of six different jobs in order to pay his tuition and survive as a student in his five-year stay in the university.

"I was an encoder, a transcriptionist, a library student assistant, a tutor, a writer, and at one point, a food vendor at the dormitory manning my own little sari-sari store," he wrote.

Jaminola recounted that he resorted to working part-time jobs with small income because his father's earning as a messenger in the local municipal hall in Mindoro, amounting to around 200 pesos a day, was not enough to send him to school.

"The cards are always stacked up against the poor. For us to survive, we must work twice or even thrice as hard and manage our time more efficiently and more effectively," he said.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said she believes that there are still a lot of people from poor families who continue to dream for success and work hard for their and their families' future.

"Naniniwala po ako na marami pang gaya ni Leo, na kapos man sa buhay, ay buo ang loob na nangangarap at nagsisikap para guminhawa ang pamilya. Silang kapos man sa buhay, ay sinusulit ang bawat pagkakataong dumarating at di-inaalintana ang mabibigat na sakripisyo para makaalpas sa tanikala ng kahirapan," said the former justice secretary.

With the signing into law of Republic Act No. 11310 or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) and the Republic Act 11291 or the "Magna Carta of the Poor" - both of which she principally sponsored and authored - this year, De Lima said she hopes the basic needs of the poor will finally be addressed and prioritized.

"Ito po ang layunin natin sa pag-akda at pagtataguyod ng mga batas na Magna Carta of the Poor at Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) Act; hindi bilang limos sa maralita, kundi upang bigyang lakas at kakayahan ang matagal nang pinagkaitan ng oportunidad na umasenso," she added.

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