BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya: The President (Benigno Aquino 3rd) has signed a law establishing secondary schools for the Indigenous Peoples in this province.
The schools, according to the Department of Education (DepEd) officials are for secondary students, mostly from the indigenous tribes of Ayangan, Kalanguya, Ibaloi and Kankanai, to name a few.
“These students can now look forward to having their own school right within their remote mountain village, thanks to President Aquino for signing into law that which will establish those schools,” DepEd officials said.
The President’s recent signing of Republic Act 10482 mandates the creation of a National High School in Quezon town’s far-flung Dagupan village.
DepEd officials said this would give the youth opportunities to pursue their secondary education without necessarily hiking for at least a kilometer to reach the nearest school.
Another newly approved law, House Bill 1210 establishing the Dippog National High School was signed by the President on April 16.
This new high school will also accommodate secondary students from the adjoining upland villages of Bonifacio, also in Quezon town, and Baretbet-Palayan in Bagabag town.
These villages are dominated by members of tribal communities of Igorots and Ifugaos.
In Abucay town of Bataan province, classes in the Aeta village of Bangkal at the foot of Mount Natib started as scheduled on Monday.
Some Aeta boys tended first to their goats early morning before finally preparing for school.
Cecil Malunik, 32-year-old Aeta mother, was busy attending to her 9-year-old daughter Cielyn Joan dress up for school at the Bangkal Elementary School.
“I want to be a teacher,” Cielyn who is in Grade 3 answered when asked what she wanted to be.
A group of children, not Aetas, from Malaking Bato in Mabatang, Abucay were seen traversing the rough road to Bangkal. “We’re getting tired,” they said.
Mercy Villavicencio who was accompanying her son in Grade 2 said Bangkal is the nearest school to their sitio. “Children have to walk for an hour to get to school [Isang oras ang nilalakad ng mga bata upang makarating sa paaralan],” she said.
A mixture of Aeta and non-Aeta called “unat” children are in the Bangkal school.
“Delightful but difficult [Masarap na mahirap],” teacher Rosemarie Innocencio said when asked how she finds teaching in the village.
“Difficult since a lot of our students are native who are rather slow of understanding unlike the Tagalogs. Delightful because they are so kind [Mahirap dahil marami sa tinuturuan namin ay mga katutubo na medyo mabagal makaintindi hindi tulad ng mga Tagalog. Masarap dahil mababait naman sila],” the Grade 6 teacher said.
She said that there were 73 pupils in last year’s enrollment and they expect the same number to attend classes this school year. She said that each teacher handle less than 20 children per class.
“Government supports Aeta children and even their school uniforms are free [Suportado naman ng gobyerno ang mga batang Aeta at libre pati school uniform nila],” Innocencio said.
WITH REPORT FROM ERNIE B. ESCONDE