2016 Commencement Exercises at Pamulaan Center: Manifestations of Learning and Growth

2016 Commencement Exercises at Pamulaan Center: Manifestations of Learning and Growth
“Milestones are made up not just of academic achievement, but of moments that make manifest their growth in learning, leadership and love for their own indigenous heritage.”

The University of Southeastern Philippines-Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education (USEP-Pamulaan) held its Commencement Exercises for its pioneer batch of BS Social Entrepreneurship graduates last March 30, 2016 at Mintal, Davao City. Among those present in the celebration are National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Chairperson Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo, USEP President Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao, Pamulaan President Mr. Benjamin Abadiano, Indigenous Peoples (IP) Leader Datu Julito Penaso, and representatives from Pamulaan’s partner organizations.



Batch 2016 Pamulaan Graduates, together with their school heads, sponsor organizations and guests


Datu Julito Penaso of the Manobo tribe addressed the graduates as the representative of the IP elders and communities. He expressed (in Visayan) that ‘one of the dreams of [IP] leaders is that the next generation of all tribes will be well-educated.’ He encouraged the indigenous youth to give importance to education, deepen their knowledge of both current and social issues, and defend their rights when it comes to land and property ownership, among others.


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Manobo leader Datu Julito Penaso giving his inspirational message to the graduates


Among the 34 graduates of the Social Entrepreneurship program, two young ladies — Merlyn P. Campong and Arjane C. Sotto — are grantees of Cartwheel Foundation’s Young Indigenous Peoples (YIP) Leaders Program. Merlyn is from the Arumanen-Manobo tribe of Renibon, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, while Arjane is from the Talaandig tribe of Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon. Both have expressed their desire to give back to their respective communities and the IP sector in the years to come.



Merlyn Campong and Arjane Sotto, Batch 2016 graduates and grantees of Cartwheel’s Young IP Leaders Program


Arjane, in particular, was one of Cartwheel’s first pre-school learners during its early years of partnership with the Talaandig community of Miarayon. She eventually entered college in Pamulaan Center, where she blossomed into the young leader that she is today. With Arjane receiving a college degree, Cartwheel’s story of growth through culturally relevant education has come full circle.


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Arjane Sotto receiving her diploma as a Bachelor of Science in Social Entrepreneurship


Aside from Arjane, Merlyn, and the Social Entrepreneurship graduates, completers of the ladderized education program in Agricultural Technology were awarded certificates for their achievement in School Year 2015-2016. Nine (9) of Cartwheel’s 2nd year YIP grantees were among those recognized for successfully completing the course.



Completers of the course on Agricultural Technology proudly showing their certificates


After the graduation ceremony, 11 YIP grantees had a small group sharing with Cartwheel Executive Director Pia Ortiz-Luis and Programs Officer Celia Jurado. Many of the young leaders recounted how they, as students of Pamulaan, grew in confidence and gained a deeper appreciation of their rich cultural heritage, which ultimately drives them to, one day, be of service to their respective communities. They likewise extended their heartfelt gratitude to the many generous individuals and groups who journeyed with them through the years.


Executive Director Pia Ortiz-Luis with Young IP Leaders

Cartwheel Executive Director Pia Ortiz-Luis with the Young IP Leaders


For the Pamulaan Graduates and Young IP Leaders, milestones are made up not just of academic achievement, but of moments that make manifest their growth in learning, leadership and love for their own indigenous heritage. May these values shine even brighter as they journey home and give back to their communities.


2 Responses

  1. cesar g. tabasa

    I am happy that USEP has taken the lead to educate the IPs in this country. I hope that the national government will provide more funds to support them. As a member of the Kagan tribe, education has helped me to land a decent job. I was also a recipient of a scholarship and now a government employee now in the province of Davao del Sur. To have an education opens the door to opportunities and free you from discrimination among your peers. Where can I send my donations? I hope that a similar program will be offered in Davao del Sur. Kudos to the sponsors!

    1. CFI Moderator

      Thank you very much for your kind words, Cesar! We really are encouraged by people like you; yes to opening doors to opportunities and freeing our IP brothers and sisters from discrimination. Thank you very much also for your willingness to support our advocacy by sending in your donations. We’ll make sure to coordinate with you via email the soonest.

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