During his first year in college, Risando “Micko” Namoc Jr. would walk seven kilometers from his school to his home in Digos City, not because he wanted to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but because he was trying to save as much from his allowance at the end of each day.
Micko was then taking up Education with a major in Mathematics at the Cor Jesu College and was fortunate enough to have stayed with a relative in the city since his family’s house is in Sibulan, Sta. Cruz, about 35 kilometers or an hour’s trip away.
“My allowance was only P25 and since the fare back and forth would cost P12, there were times when I chose to walk. I had to budget my allowance for lunch, but when I needed to spend for school projects or photo copies, I would sometimes borrow from my sister’s friends,” Micko, 20, recalled.
A member of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe, Micko is the second among five siblings. His mother is unemployed while his father juggles various jobs to help make ends meet, but these were never enough. As the second eldest, Micko felt that it was his responsibility to take care of his younger siblings.
He pursued a college education so that he may be able to improve their living conditions.
Life may have been hard for Micko all these years, but his struggles are now behind him after he landed on the sixth spot in the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET) last December 2018, besting 127,000 other board takers.
“I’m so amazed that out of all who took the exams, I was blessed by God to be in sixth place. I could not help but cry out of joy because, finally, we’ve found a remedy to our hardships,” he said.
Asked about what he wanted to get after passing his exams, Micko said he would love to receive a new cellphone, a laptop, and a motorcycle.
“These are necessary because I plan to teach in the mountains. I also want to organize a speaking engagement with the rest of my tribe to tell them that poverty is not a hindrance to success,” Micko explained.
Micko and his family live in Sitio Balabag, Sibulan where the availability of stable electricity and mobile network signal remains a challenge. Roads leading to the area are also difficult to access, especially during the rainy season. He hopes to bring the school closer to his community and let his story inspire the people of his tribe.
The new educator is a scholar of AboitizPower subsidiary Hedcor and Aboitiz Foundation. Granting full college scholarships to qualified students is part of Hedcor’s efforts to advance communities through education.
“I am really happy that Hedcor’s assistance included the expenses for my board exam review,” said Micko.