19 Lumad learners dressed up in their lively indigenous attire came out from the ALCADEV academic building on the morning of March 12, 2012. Together with their proud parents, they began to march toward the mini gym, where the graduation ceremony will be held. ALCADEV is marking the 6th year of its pedagogical achievements as graduating learners head towards the stage.
During the graduation, Marife Magbanua, the executive director, explained that ALCADEV is an educational option for indigenous peoples who don’t have the chances to enroll in formal schools. She cited appropriateness of the curriculum that responds to the needs of the learners and the communities.Learners are facilitated into the yearly Accreditation and Equivalency (A and E)program under the Bureau of Alternative Learning System-Department of Education (BALS-Dep Ed). Their preferences are also taken into consideration. “The A and E program is one way of allowing learners into the mainstream education system after they have passed the test. The Department of Education representative who visited us in November 21, 2012 commended our curriculum. There was no declaration of ALCADEV being illegal”, Magbanua said. She added that the UN Declaration Article 14 and the Philippine constitution highlights indigenous people’s right to education and development. “But we have learned from our experience that the rightful recognition of schools, emerge from the peoples strength,” Magbanua stressed.
Renalyn Tejero, a graduate of the school year (SY) 2012-2013, emotionally delivered the graduation speech. Tears filled her eyes as she shared her fellow graduates’ meaningful testimonies. She shared how they survived achieving education in a society full of discrimination under current conditions. “Hindi nga namin matapos tapos etong libreng edukasyon na aming natatamasa ngayon, iyon pa kayang apat na taong napakamahal na kolehiyo?”(We could not even finish the free educational opportunities that we have today, how much more with four years of college, which is very expensive?) She also pointed out how their school and teachers were treated unfairly as reflected in a currently circulating instigation issue of ALCADEV is a non-accredited school. Renalyn also expounded how much they valued much their school, teachers, leaders and members of the organization, and supporters from government and non-government entities who have accompanied them to success. “Our batch will all go back to our communities and engage in development work right after graduation!” she stressed-out. In the end, she strongly requested the ALCADEV board of trustees to confirm them all as full-fledged graduates of ALCADEV. Rev. Marcial Calawigan, UCCP,vice chairperson of the ALCADEV board of trustees rose from his seat and initiated the confirmation. Each learner proudly received the flute that was handed by the board of trustees on stage. Graduate diplomas were rolled and inserted inside a flute carved with indigenous designs. Genasque Enriquez, the General Secretary of the Regional Alliance of Lumad-KASALO CARAGA inspired graduates and different communities to seriously cultivate all schools that serve as a venue for the young to grow holistically.
Roy Regino Sarmen, the municipal mayor of Lianga rose to the occasion together with the complete presence of municipal council members. Hon. Robert Lala, the vice mayor, Psalm P. Dollano, municipal agriculture officer and Liby Te, barangay captain of Diatagon, also attended. The Missionary Benedictine Sisters, Fr, Jouarli Carlos, IFI and Rev, Titing Estillore, Executive Director of the Indigenous Peoples Apostolate , Diocese of Tandag delighted ALCADEV and the other organization with their presence. Hon Johnny Pimentel sponsored medals given to award learners who have excelled in different disciplines. In the afternoon, the 9th closing ceremony was held for the lower years with the participation of parents, leaders and members of MAPASU organization.
Five days later, Dr. Olufonso Odunukan’s -surprise awards arrived for the graduates. A special gathering was organized by the teachers to facilitate the awards. “This is unexpected. We are supposed to be leaving for community work today, many thanks Doc!” Decel Tawide said smilingly. “Thanks for all the surprise awards Dr. Funso!” shouted the graduates. For two ceremonies, Dr Odunukan has been giving away special awards for best student in community health work, agriculture and academic excellence every graduation which haves learner’s indelible inspirations.
For three consecutive years, ALCADEV has maintained good standing in the national Accreditation and Equivalency (A and E) test under the Bureau of Alternative Learning System(BALS).This year, 17 learners passed the test out of 20 takers for the SY 2012-2013.###