BAGUIO CITY – “We still have supplies and ample amount of food to spare”, were the words of Noemi Pal-og, a National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Educational Assistance Program (EAP) grantee/scholar, when asked by the commission where will they send her share of relief.
Pal-og suggested to the Commission her share of relief be given to her fellow students instead whom are less fortunate than her “ who need more the relief more than I do. This, particularly to those who are stranded in city away from their families in the province. They are left to fend for themselves because their families can’t send supplies due to the Enhance Community Quarantine,” explained Pal-og.
“We are not rich, we simply just have enough food and supplies which we believe can sustain us throughout the lockdown,” said Pal-og.
As a true blue-blooded Kankanaey (indigenous peoples of Mountain Province and parts of Benguet), Pal-og carried with her from her province, while currently studying in city, the indigenous value of Inayan.
Inayan or the recognition of karma and/or the fear from their supreme deity, Kabunian, is an inherent value of the indigenous peoples (IPs) of Cordillera, particularly in Mountain Province. Most of the time, inayan plays as the conscience. It guides the IPs to do what is prudent and right; and if at fault, to correct the wrong and to repel the same which may cause harm.
“I guess my share of relief, if given to less fortunate students than me, will help ease their burden which they are facing right now. So perhaps that is one less problem for them. Instead, they can focus more in complying with their school requirements,” added Pal-og.
Aside from living up and keeping true to her indigenous value of inayan while in the city, Pal-og also brought with her “indigenous green thumb”. Pal-og disclosed they practice urban farming and have been cultivating their backyard in the city which produced them food not only in today’s lockdown but also during the regular days.
Pal-og is currently a sophomore taking up Mass Communication at the University of the Cordilleras (UC). Pal-og is joined by her brother and his family at the latter’s residence in Camp 7. She lived most of her elementary and high school days in Tadian, Mountain Province and only went up to Baguio for her college degree.
Relief assistance for the NCIP–EAP grantees/scholars came from the different good hearted donors of Baguio and nearby municipalities, made possible through the initiatives and collective coordinating efforts NCIP–CAR personnel.
By Rocky Ngalob