DUPAX DEL NORTE, Nueva Vizcaya, April 13 (PIA) – Members of the Bugaklot ribe here recently praised the establishment of public high schools in their villages.
The Bugkalot National High School (BNHS) which is one of the 40 national high schools created by Congress brought education closer to the tribe.
“We owe this school and the education it gave to our government through the assistance of then Representative Carlos Padilla. With this, many of our children have completed their education,” said barangay captain Pagada Gumiad , the first village chief of New Gumiad.
He said that since the establishment of BNHS, many young Bugkalot tribe members earned their elementary and secondary education and are now employed as seaman, teachers, local officials and other vital positions in various government agencies.
Lando Kilop, 40, the BNHS first head teacher said their school greatly addressed the absence of literacy among the youth in barangay New Gumiad and nearby villages.
“The rugged road and terrain then have discouraged many of our parents to send their children in schools because it was very far and means of transportation was through hiking only,” he said.
Kilop said a day's hike is required to reach the nearest school in the municipality and parents who only depend on upaland agriculture cannot afford to pay for the needed boarding house rent.
Epie Gumiad, 35, the first graduate of BNHS and now a social welfare worker advised her fellow Bugkalot members, especially the youth to give importance on their education.
“We should make good use of the presence of schools in our communities because this will improve our lives for the better. Now that schoools came in, there is no more reason for us not to get formal education,” she said.
The 'Bugkalots', also known as the 'Ilongots' were then feared for their head hunting practices in the mountains of Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora and Quirino.
Christian education was first introduced to their communities by American missionaries, bringing them books on Christianity and other related textbooks.
This effort further tamed the tribe's violent practices and further stopped their head hunting practices.
The establishment of public schools within their communities was prioritized by the concerned local government units, backed up by then Representative Carlos Padilla.
These schools, like the BNHS has brought the Bugkalots closer to their lowland counterparts and are now participating in the democratic prrocesses of the local and national government agencies.# Ben Moses Ebreo/PIA 2-NVizcaya