Iskolar ni Manang Imee recipient: "Hindi na imposible ang aming mga pangarap"Jan 16, 2017
"Hmp, maalaka kad' met?" (Hmp, sa tingin mo makukuha ka?)
Kaye Ann Domingsil's family had reason to doubt that she would pass for the Sirib Young Leadership (SYL) Scholarship. With about 200 applicants and only 31 slots then, her chances seemed slim, as she had never been a scholar during her secondary years.
So when the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO━then the Sirib Youth Office) informed her that she was to be a beneficiary of the program, they were overjoyed.
"Naragsakanda met kasi daydiay ngarud, napagasatannak... adu met iti nag-apply'ak a scholarship'en, saannak a naala." (Natuwa sila kasi nga pinagpala ako... marami na akong in-apply'an na scholarship, hindi ako nakuha.)
Nineteen-year-old Domingsil revealed that at the time, her second semester of college, she had been worried about failing and struggling to maintain her grades, "Pero ngayon, third year na ako. Sa awa ng Diyos, na-maintain ko ang scholarship ko."
Financially, the scholarship is a great help to her entire family as her father Alex works both in construction and on a farm, while her mother Lerma mans a tiangge (sari-sari) store in their home. She has one sibling in Grade 12 at the Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades (INCAT).
Aside from maintaining their grades, SYL scholars are also required to exercise a leadership position, whether at school, in the community, or at church. Domingsil thus holds the external vice presidency of the Philippine Association of Students in Office Administration━Northwestern University Chapter and serves as the Sangguniang Kabataan Chairperson in Barangay 20-Cabisuculan of Vintar, her hometown.
"It's not enough that you have a position to write below your name. The [INYDO] also requires photo documentation to prove that you are an active leader," Domingsil shared.
All scholars under the INYDO are also required to render 50 hours of community service, which can range from helping in distribution of the Paspas Dur-as! Provincial Newsletter to assisting media coverage teams during events like the Himala sa Buhangin! Arts and Music Festival and other volunteer activities under the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN).
Her strong extracurricular record and exceptional grades earned her four wards during the NWU College of Business Education (CoBE) Recognition Day last year: the Leadership Award, Service Award, Stags Spirit Award, and Best in Stenography.
"Marami akong nakikilala [through her community service], marami akong napupuntahan na lugar, at may mga naipasok din ako na scholar... Nakikita ko naman 'yong mga may potential. Sinasamahan ko sila sa [INYDO] para pareho kaming mapakinabang."
Scholarships toward provincial, sustainable development
From 105 scholars in Academic Year 2011-2012, PGIN now supports total of 1,487 undergraduate and technical-vocational scholars for the second semester of AY 2016-2017, posing a drastic increase in student assistance.
"Buti pa kayo ngayon, may mga ganyang scholarship na. Noong kami ang nag-aaral, hindi kami nakapagtapos dahil wala naman ganyang programa noon. Kung mayroon lang sana noon, nakapagtapos din sana ako."
Domingsil shared that this common sentiment of her neighbors, sharing, "Lubos kaming nagpapasalamat kayGovernor Imee R. Marcos dahil mayroon itong programa para sa mga nag-aaral... Kung napag-isipan sana noon pa na magka-scholarship program ang probinsiya natin, napakagandang pinagsimulan sana iyon. Siguro, marami sana ang nakapagtapos noon pa."
A former Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) scholar, she explained that Sirib scholarships urge holistic growth, not only assisting students financially, but also contributing to their personal development and sense of volunteerism through community involvement.
She also urges her fellow Ilocano youth: "Umaykay metten ag-apply iti scholarship tapnu adda met maitulongyo iti nagannakyo ken tapnon makasursurokay met iti nasayaat... Instead nga ingkayo agtamba-tambay idta sabasabali a tambayan... umaykay laeng ag-volunteer idiay [INYDO]." (Mag-apply na rin kayo ng scholarship para may maitulong din kayo sa mga magulang ninyo at para na rin may matutunan kayo... Instead na pumunta kayo sa mga iba't-ibang tambayan diyan... mag-volunteer na lang kayo sa INYDO."
Her father Alex now tells her, "Malaking oportunindad 'yang pagiging volunteer mo. Pwedeng maging pampatibay 'yan kapag nag-apply ka na para sa trabaho balang araw sa gobyerno."
From aspiring to be an OFW to serving her province
Domingsil admits, "Noong hindi pa ako scholar, pagkatapos kong grumadweyt, ang gusto ko talaga ay mag-abroad kasi nakita ko 'yong mga iba na sa abroad talagang umangat at nakaraos sa buhay."
She later realized that she would rather invest the skills, knowledge, and attitudes in her home province: "Dapat daydiay nagrigatanda kanyam, idtoy met lang iti pagnam-ayam." (Dapat 'yong pinaghirapan nila sa'yo, dito mo na ring gamitin para sa ikauunlad mo.)
With the widening employment opportunities in the province, she believes that all Ilocanos would be able to find a good job and livelihood "as long as kaya mong hanapan ang napag-aralan mo."
She further expressed her thanks to the Governor: "Napakalaki ng tulong nito sa akin, hindi lang sa akin kundi sa buong pamilya namin. Kaya thank you, Ma'am. Kailanman hindi ka namin masusuklian ng kabutihan."
When Governor Marcos launched her threefold vision for Ilocos Norte to become "livable, sustainable, and resilient," at the heart of her goal was to ensure that working overseas and away from family would be a choice and not a last resort for Ilocanos. She envisions a province wherein everything needed for a fulfilling life, including recreation, education, and employment, could be found.
With a renewed perspective, Domingsil's goal now is to serve and give back to Ilocos Norte.
For her, the Governor's vision has already been realized:
"Awan met ti sapulekon iti probinsiatayon." (Wala na akong hahanapin pa sa probinsiya natin.)