PARTNERSHIP. Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson (seated, left), and Alana Anderson (2nd from right), chief executive officer of Alana Kaye College, pose for a photo opportunity after the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the scholarship program for Negrense students in Darwin City, Northern Territory, Australia on Nov. 10, 2022. The signing rites were witnessed by Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II (2nd from left) Philippine Consul General to the Northern Territory Januario John Rivas. (Photo courtesy of PIO Negros Occidental)

BACOLOD CITY – The Negros Occidental provincial government has entered into scholarship agreements with two educational institutions – Alana Kaye College and International College of Advance Education (ICAEC) – in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) during the just-concluded visit of Governor Eugenio Lacson to its capital city of Darwin.

Karen Dinsay, head of the Negros Occidental Scholarship Program Division, who was among those who joined Lacson during the trip from Nov. 5-11, said on Tuesday that 10 students from the province would soon study at Alana Kaye College in Darwin while five others would attend the ICAEC in Rapid Creek.

“The goal of the program is to upgrade the skills of Negrense scholars, who will have the opportunity to eventually become permanent residents in Australia,” she added.

Lacson signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Alana Anderson, chief executive officer (CEO) of Alana Kaye College, for the implementation of the provincial government’s “Study Now, Pay Later” Scholarship Program.

Under the program, grantees from Negros Occidental will have the opportunity to study early childhood education and care at Alana Kaye College for two years.

The governor also forged a similar agreement with Sean Mahoney, CEO of ICAEC, for scholarship offering to qualified and deserving Negrense students in the field of hospitality, tourism, and cookery.

The scholarships will pave the way for the recipients to qualify for work visa, and later obtain permanent work visa and residency in Australia.

Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II, who was also part of the governor’s party, said that the NT is “very much like” Negros Occidental.

“It’s an emerging economy. Their investments are in terms of natural gas exploration and solar energy development. They are five major internet companies connecting from Darwin. We are convincing them to put Negros Occidental on their map so that whatever it is that we can synergize with them, we can follow,” he added.

During the visit, Lacson was joined by Philippine Consul General to the NT Januario John Rivas, who also hails from Negros Occidental.

They met with Vicky O’Halloran, administrator of the NT, and also with Eva Lawler, member of the NT Legislative Assembly, who discussed with Lacson updates on infrastructure, planning and logistics of both governments as well as possible collaboration on scholarships and migration.

The governor met as well with officials of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, NT Cattleman’s Association, NT Farmers Association, and NT Live Export Association to explore partnerships on agribusiness management that can be applied in the province’s agricultural industry, specifically in the areas of production and marketing.

Lacson also visited the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, which showcases the Australian government’s disaster and emergency medical response and provides clinical and academic leadership training in disaster and trauma care, and international education. (PNA)