— By Ricardo Espitia, PCAFPD Student Affairs
The bread and butter of PCAFPD are our scholars. Part of the magic behind the success of the PCAFPD program is the volunteer-Manila-based, Ituloy Team. The team administers the day-to-day operations of the program in the Philippines and is composed mostly of former PCAFPD scholars who volunteer their time to serve as mentors to the scholars, administer the scholarship funds to the scholars, and keep the U.S. based PCAFPD Board abreast of the higher educational environment in the Philippines. Our program would not be as successful as it is without their commitment. Today we highlight one of the Ituloy team members Jenifer Halili.
Jenifer was born and currently resides in Ayala Poblacion, San Pascual, Batangas and has been connected with PCAFPD since the 1980s. PCAFPD first supported her high school education in the late 1980s. Then, with the support of PCAFPD, she obtained a Bachelor of Science major in Civil Engineering in 1996 and her Master’s in Environmental Management in the late 2000s.
After receiving her undergraduate degree, she moved to Manila for the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines. Jenifer attributes the PCAFPD network for helping her land her first job and cope with the challenges of moving to a major city. Having come from a very poor family and not knowing anyone in Manila, the PCAFPD community became a safe haven while she worked to support her family. Furthermore, through her PCAFPD community in Manila she found a passion in environmental protection. Since she discovered this passion, she has worked as an Environmental Manager, Civil Engineer, and most recently Pollution Control Officer. Through these jobs she has supported her siblings’ education, medical expenses for her father, and support for her younger sibling with a disability.
Even before the Ituloy team was formed, Jenifer began volunteering with PCAFPD in 1997 by assisting with scholar communications and record keeping. She took a break after starting her family and was invited to join the Ituloy Team in 2020 to serve in her current role as its secretary. When asked to join, she enthusiastically agreed and states she is more than happy to serve the foundation in any way she can in order to give back to the organization that gave her a means to a better life.
Jenifer’s motivation for serving on the Ituloy team is rooted in part in the opportunity to connect with current scholars who come from similar challenging backgrounds as she does. Our scholars find her to be an inspiration and a motivator to complete their studies, face life’s challenges head on, and work hard. Jenifer says “The Foundation armed us and guided us to a better future and that we like to share that to current scholars by serving on the Ituloy Team.”
When asked what her future plans are, Jenifer refers back to when she was chosen as a PCAFPD scholar years ago. When she applied, she was asked how she planned to give back to her country. She has maintained true to this PCAFPD value ever since. Outside of the Ituloy team, she has supported other members of her family to go to school, provided assistance following natural disasters, donates regularly to her church and school, and is actively involved in environmental awareness by assisting industries to comply with environmental protection requirements.
Jenifer’s humble dedication to be an example to future scholars, a cheerleader for their success, and a success story they can relate to is what makes the Ituloy team so unique. We are so proud of Jenifer’s commitment to the PCAFPD mission and our scholars.