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SOARING TO HIGHER SKIES: EDSP SCHOLAR GRADUATES AS MAGNA CUM LAUDE

June 16, 2017
SOARING TO HIGHER SKIES: EDSP SCHOLAR GRADUATES AS MAGNA CUM LAUDE

Gene Luche Battung, scholar of Batch 11 of the Education for Development Scholarship Program (EDSP), recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Air Link Aviation International College on 11 April 2017 visited the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Regional Welfare Office – National Capital Region (OWWA RWO-NCR).

 

Life in the Middle East

 

Gene left the Philippines when he was in Grade 5 to live in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) because his father will work as a Service Manager in Saudi Oger. His mother also stayed in KSA to take care of them. After graduating from Palm Crest International High School, Gene returned to the Philippines to pursue his college education. He felt lonely and incomplete because his parents were left behind in Riyadh. He said that, “Even my brother was with me in the Philippines, I felt at a loss because anything I need, my parents will always be there to provide. At the same time, I had to cope with the new life style and I got culture shock at first.”  He added that distance from his family for the first time did not hinder him from studying hard and graduating with Latin Honor. Being on his own during his college years was his source of motivation to make his parents proud.

 

College Life

 

When asked why he took the course in Aircraft Maintenance, Gene immediately answered that it was his dream since he was a child. He recalled that, “since I was a kid, every time I will be asked what I wanted to be when I grow up? My response will be “I want to become a Pilot”. I chose my course since it is related to the course that I originally wanted to take, which is flying.” Gene felt his college days were short-lived but he enjoyed it so much because he only completed his course in 3 years. He said that graduating from college at aged 18 is quite worrisome and if he is ready for the real world. The present struggle he is facing now is the fast paced world outside school.  After 3 years, Gene has succeeded in achieving a fraction of his dream to become a pilot with honor – Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Maintenance Technology.

 

Struggles and Blessings

 

Even if he wanted to take a Flying course, Gene had to adjust due to financial constraints. “If given the opportunity I would take up a Flying course but due to financial constraints, I had to take up a different course. Definitely, I still do have a plan of studying again to become a Pilot.”

 

It was back in May 2016 when his parents returned to the Philippines because of the mandatory repatriation of the Philippine government. His father worked at Saudi Oger, one of the nine construction and maintenance companies which faced a financial crisis in Saudi Arabia. According to Gene’s father, Engineer Marcial Battung, he spent his own money to buy their plane tickets because they could no longer wait for the repatriation program of the government. Fortunately, Engr. Battung was recently hired as the Section Chief of the Fire Safety and Enforcement Education department of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

 

Future plans

 

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Gene gave himself a timeline as well as viable options to help him achieve his dream of becoming a Pilot. “After I finish my 6-month internship at the Omni Aviation Corporation, I will complete all my requirements and take the licensure examination. From then, I have 2 viable options: first, is to continue working to be able to finance my studies and second, is to find a scholarship at any flying school,” he said.

 

EDSP Scholarship

 

Prior to the qualifying examination, Gene was not aware of the existence of the scholarship program of OWWA. He only found out about the EDSP when his school chose him, along with other students, to take the qualifying exams. “I felt blessed when I received that opportunity. I felt more blessed when the results came out that I was one out of the 3 passers from our school,” he said.

 

He is also thankful for the support that he received from OWWA for the past 3 years. “For everyone in OWWA, thank you so much for the help. Please continue your generous work. You have been instrumental to improve our lives - to me and also to other students and OFWs out there. Please continue doing your great job and God Bless you all,” he said.         

 

Gene inspires other scholars by quoting a popular author - “They should continue aspiring for their dreams and when they encounter times of hardships, they should always remember to seek the seed of triumph in every adversity. They should not lose hope when times get hard and remember that they are doing this not only for themselves but also for their parents who worked hard and suffered many sacrifices while working overseas.” 

RWO-NCR Director Emma V. Sinclair and EDSP Scholar Gene Luche Battung holding Gene’s medal for graduating as Magna Cum Laude

 

From L to R: PSD Chief Ma. Teresa Capa, RWO-NCR Director Emma V. Sinclair, EDSP Scholar Gene Luche Battung, Dolores Battung, Gene’s mother, and Engineer Marcial Battung, Gene’s father

 

From L to R: RWO-NCR Director Emma V. Sinclair, ETU head Vivian Velez, EDSP scholar Gene Luche Battung, Dolores Battung, PSD Chief Ma. Teresa Capa and Engineer Marcial Battung.

 

Gene Luche Battung together with his parents and brother during his graduation day

 

 Gene Luche Battung, EDSP Batch 11 scholar, from Air Link Aviation International College graduated Magna Cum Laude on 11 April 2017