Student in Iloilo reaps ₱100K grand prize in Smart’s Balik Tuition Promo

PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has awarded ₱100,000 each to two grand prize winners from PHINMA University of Iloilo, in the second season of Smart’s Balik Tuition Promo.

Smart has made the second season bigger, awarding ten grand prize winners with Php 100,000 (tax-free) each, compared to the four winners from the first season.


Jecynmie Ponce

One of the lucky winners in the second season is a 22-year-old returning student Jecynmie Ponce, the youngest daughter among six siblings.  She would sell candies and goodies, and even accept laundry services so she would no longer ask her parents for allowance.  As victims of super typhoon Odette, the grand prize money will now help the family recover from what they’ve lost.  “We will use a portion of the money to fix our damaged kitchen and try to start a small piggery for business,” said Ponce. 


She would also use a portion of the money to buy new smartphone for her studies as their family owns only one phone, which they got with the help of a loan. The rest will be for savings.

Ponce, who is now finishing Senior High school in Accountancy Business Management, held back schooling for several semesters as she prioritized the needs of her family.  “I’ve always believed that it was only a brief setback. I had looked for ways to be able to send myself back to school. I saw education as the only key for us to live comfortably.”


Awarding of the 2nd season of Smart's Balik Tuition Program at PHINMA University of Iloilo with (from left to right): Ofelia Odilao Bisnar, Chief Operations Officer of PHINMA University of Iloilo; Bennonie Dela Cruz, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences of PHINMA University of Iloilo; Ryn Jun Abacajin, Enrollment Project Manager; Jecynmie Ponce with her guardian; Nancy Nacua, Senior Manager of Smart Community Solutions and Business Development; and Cathlyn Adlawan, Smart Community Solutions and Business Development Officer.

Smart’s Balik-Tuition Promo is open to high school or college students enrolled for SY 2021-2022 in Smart and TNT partner schools nationwide.

“When the pandemic started, we learned that a lot of students were discouraged because they had to deal with challenges on the rising cost of tuition fees, lack of access to online learning tools, among others. This has inspired us to develop the “Balik-Tuition Promo” to respond to the needs of the students amidst trying times,” said Antonette Orpilla, Senior Manager of Smart Go-to-Market and Subscriber Management.

For students below 18 years old, parent or legal guardian’s consent is necessary for registration.