A scholar from a formerly rebel-affected community in Siaton town, Negros Oriental, was among the 1,773, who graduated from the Negros Oriental State University main campus in Dumaguete City, recently.
Marlon Hiyog, 27, of Sitio Quadra, Barangay Mantiquil, Siaton, was assisted by the 79 th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion of the Philippine Army, based in Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, in realizing his dream of completing an Information Technology education, a press release from the Army said.
He is the son of Marcos and Pacita Hiyog, both poor farmers. What differentiated him from other youth in the community was his interest to finish college despite of extreme poverty. Marlon worked on bars as dishwasher on weekends, and talked to everyone he knows to accept him as housekeeper just to earn some cash and have a place to stay in Dumaguete. One of the places he used to stay in was with his teacher, who knew his sacrifices and referred him to the Little Children of the Philippines as a scholar, the press release said.
Bayanihan Teams that were conducting immersion activities after an armed engagement between the NPAs and members of the 79 th IB in Sitio Quadra March 2013, learned of Marlon, and his dedication and commitment to finish college and land a job to provide a better life for his family, became an inspiration not only to his fellow youth but also to the government troops.
The BTAs became inspired by his story and the unit looked for someone to support Marlon's dreams. He was introduced by the unit to Marit Cabugon for his monthly allowance and cash support for other school needs, aside from the scholarship for tuition provided by the Little Children of the Philippines. From then on, he managed to stay in Dumaguete and reduced his time for night jobs to concentrate more on his studies, the press release said.
Now that he has graduated, Marlon aspires to be employed in any government office as a software specialist, and jumpstart a better life for himself and his family.
The Masaligan Battalion continues to uphold the primacy of education and mainstreamed programs of scholarships to deserving students from NPA-infested communities, with the goal of uplifting the living conditions and sustaining development through education, for lasting peace, the press release added.*
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