Taking pride in his ethnicity, Anthony Suday, of Mayba Pag-asa, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, wore his traditional Mangyan attire when he received the diploma for his Bachelor of Science (BS) in Agriculture degree at Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) on Tuesday.
A member of the Mangyan tribe, Suday was the first member of the Indigenous Peoples (IP) who secured a college degree in the whole NIPSC system. He got his diploma during the First Unified Commencement Exercises of NIPSC at the college’s main campus in Estancia, Iloilo.
NIPSC also has campuses in the towns of Batad, Ajuy, Sara, Barotac Viejo, Lemery, and Concepcion.
Suday is staying with his guardian Rene Sausa in Balasan town.
In an interview on Wednesday, Sausa said he met Suday when he visited a family’s property in Mindoro.
Agriculture is the primary source of living of the Mangyans in Mindoro, which prompted Suday to take the BS in Agriculture course, he said.
He described Suday as “very honest”. “And if he finds a task hard, you will not hear any complaint from him. If he cannot handle a task alone, he has the initiative to ask his fellow Mangyans for help,” Sausa said.
Suday was under Sausa’s guidance since 2009. He finished his elementary education and first year high school in Mindoro.
He continued his high school education at Balasan National High School in Balasan, Iloilo until he entered college at the NIPSC Batad Campus.
Along with Suday, Sausa also supports the schooling of around 30 members of the Mangyan tribe as part of his advocacy.
Sausa takes pride in Suday, being his first IP scholar to obtain a college degree.
“I don’t care about their (scholars) grades. What’s important to me is they will pass and finish their education,” he said.
As part of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act 1997, which recognizes and promotes all the rights of IP communities in the country, Sausa said Suday is already assured of a job in his hometown. (By Gail Momblan, PNA | Photo by Rene Sausa)