November 28, 2022

Dr. Soraya Faculo, the schools division superintendent of Ifugao since 2021, has been invited by Mayor Jerome Tudlong to be the guest speaker during the 114th foundation day of Bontoc, Mountain Province.

She delivered her speech penetrating the heart and soul of the people. Hence, her message should not only for the Bontoc people but also for everyone. She allowed me to share it on my column. I divided it into three parts.

Khawis ay akhewtako am-in! Malagsakanak ay mangila ken chakayo am-in ay inmalimakiselebrar sinan 18th Am-among Festival ya nan 114th Bontoc foundation day. Happy fiesta sinan ili tako ay kalalaychan! Good morning to one and all!

We are grateful for all the leaders – past and present who unselfishly served Bontoc in the last 114 years.

It has been three years since I attended an official function here in Bontoc – when Mountain Province State Polytechnic College President Rex Chakas sent an invitation to speak in the research event of the college. At that time, I felt it was part of my function as an educator. Today, I feel privileged and blessed to be part of this important event. I am here as an educator but more than that, I am here as a daughter of Bontoc.

I would like to thank Mayor Jerome Tudlong for this invitation and it is my hope that my engagement with you will stir the Bontoc spirit of dynamism and proactiveness so that our town will recover fast from the pandemic and build the path to prosperity. That is the goal that I invite all of you to see and be part of. I think I was invited because you continue to believe that a teacher can explain better how this vision must be manifested by each one of us. To all the teachers who are here, Happy Teachers Month as well.

Mayor, I would like to congratulate you, your team and the honorable members of the sangguniang bayan for being in the helm of leading our ili to that vision of a dynamic Bontoc – your battlecry during the campaign period. I see that you have a team of generation Xs and Ys who walk with idealism and energy and a generation of baby boomers who balance idealism with practical wisdom. Today, we celebrate the many wins of our munisipyo that we would like each barangay to celebrate. I hope our officials from the barangay are present.

The call to prosperity lies not only in the leadership of the mayor but also in our participation as a member of the community. Our theme for this year’s celebration is fully loaded and requires deep reflection: “Dynamic and proactive towards recovery and prosperity.

We look around our beautiful province and we see rice paddies. We take pride in the sites at Samoki and Kadchog. Our unique methods in planting have caught the attention of many yet very few know of the rituals and way of life that goes into planting of rice. As I thought deeply about the theme today, I was reminded of this process and let it be our guideposts as we journey together this morning.

In my engagements with the communities and local government units, we meet with parents, elders, mayors, governors, and congressmen in the province and city we are assigned and education is always the favorite agenda. In these discussions I witnessed dynamism and proactiveness manifested in four key behaviors:

First, we have to initiate rather than maintain the status quo. Dynamic and proactive individuals and communities are one step ahead.

I was assistant superintendent of Baguio when the pandemic hit and we were waiting for guidance on how to address the schooling of learners. Mayor Benjie Magalong called us for a meeting to ask for updates. At that time, we were concerned with printing of modules to get ready for an August or October opening. We presented what we needed and all and he responded with one question we did not expect. He said, why don’t we do a pilot run for distance learning? We had all the reasons to say, we will wait for a central office directive but the mayor was one who would not take that for an answer. (To be continued)