Piddig school teacher grateful for PGIN, PRC mobile outreach programs


Mar. 18, 2016 ...

Mr. Mark Anthony R. Rivera of Brgy. Francisco, Dingras, Ilocos Norte, is a teacher at St. Anne Academy Piddig, Inc. (SAA) carrying a story of tragedy, hardship, and renewed hopes and joys from his journey of finishing his education degree to becoming a licensed teacher.

The son of a mango farmer, Rivera entered the Mariano Marcos State University−College of Teacher Education (MMSU-CTE) in 2011 after graduating from Dingras National High School (also known as the Lt. Edgar Foz Memorial National High School). While not wealthy, the family lived a comfortable life until tragedy struck during his second year of college.

Two hours before competing in the Malikhaing Pagkukuwento category of a university-wide contest conducted by MMSU's Kapisanan ng mga Mag-aaral sa Filipino at Literatura (KAMFIL), Rivera received the sad news: his father had passed away from a heart attack. Having a close relationship with his father, he was distraught yet chose to continue on with the competition.

He performed the piece "Tata Selo" by Rogelio Sikat, a story about a father's fight for his own rights, and bagged second place at the Punyagi Cup. He related telling himself as he stood before the judges, "I can do this. My father is watching," explaining that "in every competition, he would wish me luck, and in that moment, I wasn't able to hear his voice anymore."

After his father's death, Rivera's family suffered financially, and he had to take on small jobs━makeup, decoration, and choreography stints━to supplement his small weekly allowance and ensure that he would have enough for project expenses, college contributions, boarding fees, and transportation to and from Dingras every weekend.

Despite these, he is thankful today for his rollercoaster experiences in college which taught him to stand on his own feet. After being wholly dependent on his parents during his elementary and high school years, he says that it was those difficult times that molded him into a responsible person who does not take for granted the resources and opportunities available to him.

Rivera said that he kept himself inspired knowing that to be a teacher was his father's dream for him. He also shared, "I'm a happy person, and I do believe in God always." As an active member of their Parish Youth Council during his college days, he said, "Ganoon kasi ang orientation namin saorganization: para sa Diyos naman 'yankung isasakripisyo mo 'to, mas marami ang darating."

Eager to support himself and his family, he started teaching at SAA in July 2015, three months after graduating, while simultaneously reviewing for the September 2015 Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

During the exam, he was pleasantly surprised to find that teaching had served as a review, because much of the lessons he had already taught his students at SAA showed up in the exam. This compensated greatly for the weekday review sessions he had missed due to his job.

In November that same year, he was overjoyed to see his name on the list of board-passers. However, lacking enough time to prepare his requirements, he was not able to avail of the PRC (Professional Regulation Commission) mobile outreach in Laoag City, organized in partnership with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN).

Finances again became a looming problem for him, as he assumed he would have to go to Baguio City for his PRC dealings; thus, he was relieved to hear of the PRC mobile outreach scheduled last February 6, which catered to 2,202 people in Laoag.

"Very thankful ako kay Governor because yung PGIN na naki-coordinate sa PRC na pumunta dito sa Ilocos Norte, talagang malaking tulong sa amin," he also shared, "mula sa problema ng bata, problema ng matanda, pinoproblema nila… Not only the PRC━marami na talaga silang natutulungan, of course with the leadership of our respected and ever-blooming governor. Talagang pinapakinggan niya ang mga hinaing ng mga tao."

He also pointed out the establishment of the LET testing center in Laoag as a possible factor in the high LET passing rates of the province, saying that if they had had to travel to Baguio, "Of course, nagmula kami sa mainit, tapos maga-adjust ka sa malamig. Hindi ka makaka-focus, so I am thankful na nandito yung mga testing area through the PRC mobile outreach."

He commended PGIN, saying that "the progress of our province is not only shown in the services… maganda ang trato ng lider, kaya maganda ang nangyayari dito sa Ilocos Norte. You can see unity, na talagang nagtutulungan ang mga tao, at prayerful ang mga tao."