BAGUIO CITY – Commissioner Gaspar Cayat of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) urged indigenous youth from the different tribes of the Cordillera and the Ilocos regions to be determined in achieving higher levels of education and for them to strive for success in their chosen fields of profession to help improve the lives of their families.
Commissioner Cayat was the guest of honor and speaker during the region-wide gathering of indigenous youth at the former Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) building along Harrison Road.
“We want you to succeed in whatever your endeavour and the key to your success will be your determination to achieve your goals and objectives in life. Let us use our difficulties in life as our motivation and inspiration to strive for success,” Commissioner Cayat stressed.
The NCIP narrated he was born and raised at the foot of the famous Mount Pulag National Park in the sitio of Liwong, Gumhang, Tinoc, Ifugao. the fourth of twelve siblings who had to walk for 10 to 14 hours every weekend just to bring their agricultural crops to the markets in Abatan in Buguias, Solano in Nueva Vizcaya or Kiangan in Ifugao, just for their family to survive poverty in the countryside.
According to him, the indigenous youth of today are lucky because of the improved road networks around the region, coupled with the fact that their parents exert extra effort to invest in needed gadgets to help in their studies in urban centers, and they must reciprocate such deeds of their hardworking parents by doing well in their studies and succeed in their chosen fields after they complete their education.
Like the story of Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Cayat claimed he had also to walk barefoot for over 2 and a half hours daily from their residence just to be able to attend a mixed grade class in the nearest school.
He told the indigenous youth he acquired a higher level of education under the scholarship program of the National Scholarship for Indigenous Groups in the Philippines (NISGP) that paved the way for him to help his brothers and sisters complete their own studies.
Aside from studying in college, Commissioner Cayat put up a small business to provide for the needs of his parents, and younger brothers and sisters who had to come to the city to study, thus, the indigenous youth must reflect on the experiences of their older brothers and sisters for them to use the same as their inspiration and motivation to become successful.
He also challenged the indigenous youth who are studying in different schools to value the importance of having a degree as this can be their tool to move out their families and others from poverty which is prevalent in remote villages of the Cordillera.
Commissioner Cayat agreed that education is still the best inheritance that parents could bequeath to their children as this cannot be taken away from them, but it should also be used to take advantage of others.
By Dexter A. See