UC Law junior among 21 Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity scholars

March 18, 2018

Mikael Gabrielle Ilao, a third-year Juris Doctor student of the University of the Cordilleras, was selected as among the 21 Law student-recipients of this year's Foundation for Liberty and Prosperity (FLP) Scholarship. She is the only student from Northern Luzon to receive the scholarship this year.

The FLP Scholarship is open to students of law schools whose Bar Examination passing rates are above the national passing percentage. Applicants must also belong to the Top 20 of their batch earning a cumulative grade point average of not lower than 85%, submit an essay, and face an interview before top legal figures.

Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio headed the board of judges who selected this year's scholars. He is joined by FLP board members former Education Secretary Edilberto C. de Jesus, Tee Yan Kee Foundation (TYFK) Executive Elizabeth T. Alba, Philippine Association of Law Schools (PALS) President Sedfrey M. Candelaria, and Asian Development Bank consultant Atty. Joel Emerson J. Gregorio.

The 27-year old Law student described this achievement as "an answered prayer." Ilao said that losing the privileges of a sheltered life allowed her to understand the plight of many working students in the country.

She recalled the struggle of juggling studies and work to put herself through her first three years in law school. When she was 22 years old, Ilao worked as an online English teacher before being promoted to the company's head of human resources.

"I realized how hard it is to study when you are tired from work. It is so difficult for people to dream when they are hungry," she added.

These experiences became her inspiration to define in her essay "liberty" as the freedom to dream and "prosperity" as having the means to make them reality.

This also made her realize her advocacy of making legal education more accessible to the underprivileged.

"There are so many good students who do not have the means to go to school. If students had the same access to the education that I have, I believe that they would not have to leave the country for a better life," she said.

She plans to return to the academe as a Law professor once she passes the Bar Examination. Her ultimate goal is to be able to mold students to become lawyers as well.

Ilao will receive a P200,000 peso grant as follows: P100,000 for tuition fees, P80,000 for monthly stipends, and P20,000 for books.

The UC College of Law is the only Law School north of Manila to produce two Bar First Placers with Janet B. Abuel in 1998 and Noel Neil Q. Malimban in 2006.

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