Valderrama: When compassion is not just a word

Valderrama: When compassion is not just a word

HOW does it feel when a person is there for you even before you ask for it? Oprah once said a stranger’s compassion can make a world of difference. What difference does it bring really?

The story of Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Maria Ines C. Asuncion of the Department of Education Davao Region is one example of compassion in its real sense. Something that makes a big difference.

ARD Asuncion’s determination has always resulted in programs that would most benefit the learners. As an educational leader, she wanted to put up a shelter for Lumad in far-flung areas of Panabo City where she was then serving as the schools division superintendent (SDS). She was the brain and heart behind the Balay Paglaum (BP) Project alang sa Estudyanteng Lumad.

Most of the learners are from the Ata Manobo tribe and reside at Sitio Kinse Kinse in Paquibato District, Davao City. The learners need to walk 15 kilometers to the school and another 15 kilometers back to their homes, thus kinse-kinse.

Located in the premises of Sindaton National High School Annex, the Ata Manobo learners in far-flung areas of Panabo City, through the BP Project, were provided shelter as they continue to attend school to finish basic education.

The project started with 38 learners in the school year 2015–2016 for both elementary and secondary levels. Arranged marriages, traditional ideologies, and a few cases of discrimination were the reasons why some beneficiaries did not complete their education. But the other beneficiaries knew they were taken care of and they are those who are firm to finish high school.

For the past three school years, the project has produced seven senior high school graduates, most of whom are now studying in college.

Just recently, ARD Asuncion visited Balay Paglaum again but this time to bring livelihood programs to the parents and learners. She sees to it that the program will leave a great impact on the families.

She encouraged the creation of a cooperative within the group of parents. She even donated the 10,000 she received as an honorarium when she presented the Balay Paglaum Project to the Career Executive Service Conference. This will serve as seed money for their cooperative.

She also invited demonstrators and resource speakers for mushroom production, rug making, and soap and perfume making.

These were all because she wanted to leave a big impact for the project. Something that the next generation of their tribe will continue to enjoy.

ARD Asuncion is always known for her compassionate leadership. Her personality is something that could hook you to befriend her. Anyway, leaders are friends too.

They aren’t there on top for no reason. They are there to inspire and to make you feel that you are valued. After all, what is there to hold on to in your job if you know you aren’t valued at all?

The Department is so blessed to have ARD Asuncion on top together with Regional Director Allan G. Farnazo. They have this friendship and partnership that inspire the DepEd family to do more and to be more.

With them, the working force is in good hands.


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