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BALANGA CITY, Bataan For most college students, scholarship grants are make-believe goals, but for Aries Panaligan, a Civil Engineering graduate, his scholarship is a real deal. For five years, the city government paid for his studies.

The emphasis on education has reflected in a surge of developments seen in the urban growth of Balanga City, the capital of Bataan province, which envisions to be a university town by 2020, an emerging hub for tech-businesses in the Philippines.

From first year to fourth year, we were receiving P6,000 per semester, Aries, a recent Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) graduate shared. Whats more, during his fifth year, plans were underway to increase the grant to P7,000 per semester for Balanga City.

The city government has zeroed in on the quality of education for children. Not only have the benefits been felt by the children, but the community as a whole which revels in better roads, school facilities, jobs, and government policies on health, peace and order.

Balanga City is putting premium on education, with thousands of student beneficiaries receiving P6,000 per semester, teachers finishing graduate and postgraduate studies through grants, and schools and walkways equipped with WiFi-enabled kiosks.

This accent on education has crowned Balanga hall of famer in the National Literacy Awards for component city category in 2016, a feat ordained an arduous task given the list of vying cities that have bigger revenues.

Being an Iskolar ng Bataan beneficiary, we learned not only academically. We learned to participate in government activities such as in environmental drives. We learned to be role models, Aries continues.

Children, including those out-of- school, were given wider access to quality education with the establishment of Barangay Learning Hubs. Four barangay halls have been converted to BLH where computers with internet access and learning modules were installed. The idea is to entice children and citizens to learn even outside the school and work hours just by visiting the nearest BLH.

In other cities, people abhor walking in pavements. In Balanga City, the Capitol Drive is sheltered by trees and placed with Information Hub Kiosks. These kiosks are standalone hubs with internet connection where people can learn the citys activities, places to visit, announcements and important details.

The country is embattled with territorial and geographical conflicts, and such case should not extend to the field of education that still serves as ticket to local and national development. Balanga City coins itself as a high tech city, where free WiFi is available in its plaza and an expansive library with computers and study rooms is a stones throw away.