LA PAZ – More than 2 million students will receive the $28 subsidy this year that the Bolivian government established to encourage youngsters to stay in school, President Evo Morales said Friday.
A total of 2.23 million students at more than 14,000 public schools in the nine Bolivian provinces will benefit from the Juancito Pinto Bonus, Morales said at an event in the southeastern region of Chuquisaca.
The government has allocated $66.8 million to pay the benefit, money that comes from the profits earned by state companies.
Morales noted that the top contributor to the bonus fund was petroleum company YPFB, which this year provided $56.4 million.
Bolivian authorities created the Juancito Pinto Bonus in 2006 as a way to reduce the school dropout rate.
The bonus, which is delivered in a single payment, is named after the boy-hero who died fighting in the 19th-century War of the Pacific.
As in previous years, some 10,000 military personnel will be deployed to remote towns and villages to pay the Juancito Pinto Bonus.
The president said the payment of this and other social subsidies created by the government “is guaranteed,” despite the drop in oil prices, which directly affects the price of natural gas, Bolivia’s chief export.
“Evidently the drop in the price of oil affects us, but it doesn’t decide our future. Our duty...is to continue expanding our domestic market and the regional market so that the South American economy continues to grow,” Morales said.