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“It does not matter what is your position in the society, the most important is to be someone who brings quality to society; who contributes his efforts, skills and knowledge to improve one’s life and the lives of other people,” says Ms. Rosemarie Perez, a Certified Public Accountant and a former grantee of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Educational Assistance Program (NCIP-EAP) during the general assembly of the grantees on December 23, 2013 in Tabuk City, Kalinga.

Speaking in front of two hundred twenty three grantees and staff, Ms. Perez said that education was the most important thing she has that no one can take it away from her and it is what survives when what has learned has been forgotten.  Rosemarie shared that her parents often said education is the most valuable among all other things that parents can give to their children.  However, it is also a fact that most parents cannot afford to send their children to school that is why our government in its campaign to ensure the welfare of the IPs is allocating some funds for educational assistance program for those considered poor but deserving students.

“Lack of money is not a hindrance for us to achieve our dreams. There are many ways to consider like being a working student, to excel in school, to have scholarship and others.  Don’t go to private schools since there are many public State Universities and Colleges that offers quality education. Success means having the courage, determination and will to become the person you believe you are meant to be,” Rosemarie added.

Ms. Perez is currently working as a State Auditor in the Commissioner of Audit.

“To our Provincial Officer of NCIP Kalinga, Ma’am Natividad B. Sugguiyao, to the NCIP personnel, and to my fellow grantees: matago-tago taku losan! First of all, I would like to thank God that I am one of the many NCIP grantees and I would like also to thank the NCIP family with the leadership of Ma’am Natividad B. Sugguiyao. We, Ikalingas, should be proud of our own culture and tradition because we are knowledgeable enough, though we are not much handsome and beautiful but because of our own characteristics, we are unique.

Last year, there was a guy who saw a bare footed woman, wearing torn and soiled dress at the plaza in Tuguegarao City. He was with some group of students, youth and other people but no one lent a hand to her. The guy bought two burgers, floats and two softdrinks and offered these to the woman.  He then enjoyed conversing with this poor woman while eating.  The woman was very thankful to the guy because she was full. After their conversation, the guy looked for a tricycle for this woman to ride on back to where she came from.  This story signifies the characteristics of Ikalingas as being “matulungin”.  Don’t you know that this guy in the story is here with us?  Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a round of claps to my friend, Mr. Christian Ba-I, our co-EAP grantee.”