Part of the trifocal functions of higher education institutions is an active extension service that ensures community development through people empowerment, particularly in the field of education and capacity building. To this end, active community education and capacity building activities are embedded in the CCDC extension services.
CCDC has been active in various committees that aim to improve access to basic services for all. Such includes its involvement in education, health including mental health, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, peace and order, disaster preparedness, environmental protection and development of grassroots sports.
As an educational institution, the Cordillera Career Development College, whose mission is to deliver quality education through holistic, accessible and inclusive learning experiences to build socially and environmentally responsible global leaders and citizens provide opportunities for them to learn beyond the walls of the school’s halls. Even during the pandemic, students learn responsiveness and disaster risk management through hands-on experiences and through collaboration with private organizations with shared goals related to disaster management and response.
The Philippines is one of the most hazard-prone countries in the world. Benguet is a mountainous region in Northern Philippines that is home to indigenous Cordillera groups, the majority of whom rely on highland vegetable growing as their primary source of livelihood. According to studies and data, the Municipality of La Trinidad is prone to flooding and landslides brought on by approximately 10-15 typhoons that hit the locality annually. In October 2021, Typhoon Maring hit La Trinidad, and the entire Benguet Province causing severe damage to vegetable crops, resulting in collective loss of millions of pesos for local farmers.
Students, guided by school personnel, coordinated with the Benita and Catalino Yap Foundation and the Shell Foundation for a needs-based disaster response activity. The disaster response initiatives aim to integrate interpersonal engagement, volunteerism and civic responsibility among the ADMIRALS (Administrator, Mentors and Personnel, Investors, and Parents, Retirees and former employees, Alumni and Local Government, community and Students) while advocating genuine social responsibility and continuous efforts for climate action.
BAYANIHAN continues! In the spirit of binnadang, aduyon we continue to support each other. Thank you Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. and Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation (BCYF)! Rice and vegetable seedlings were given to around 50 identified beneficiaries, farmers affected by Typhoon Maring.
Iyaman to our volunteers!
IYAMAN Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. & Benita & Catalino Yap Foundation (BCYF) for the Typhoon Maring Relief Operations.
We pray for stronger partnership in the years ahead to benefit our community, our province. Matago-tago tako am-in.
AN ACADEMIC LABORATORY, AS A HEALTH CRISIS RESPONSIVE FACILITY FOR MATERNAL AND CHILD CARE FOR ALL
The CCDC Birthing Clinic, from its initial concept as a mere laboratory for the clinical learning experiences of BS Midwifery students, emerged as a health crisis responsive facility for maternal and child care when COVID-19 pandemic had exhausted hospital facilities in the locality. CCDC, instead of closing its doors during the pandemic, took the innovative step to transform an educational birthing clinic to an active and responsive health facility that is patronized by the public, especially the low income groups. Its policies have expanded to include Philhealth accreditation in order to make possible the accessibility of its health care services even to the marginalized sector of society, particularly the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, in the Northern Philippines. Furthermore, it contracted the services of consulting physicians, gynecology and pediatrician, in order to cater to more complex patient cases that may not be managed by the expertise of registered midwives. At the height of stringent lockdowns, it managed to acquire the necessary license and permit from the Department of Health to expand its physical plant by increasing its bed capacity, from a single bed capacity to a five-bed capacity to cater to the increasing demand. With these, there are valuable impacts to students and faculty with positive responses from the public and the government as well. Its vision has transcended to becoming a maternal and child care facility that is accessible to all at all times. It shall continue to contribute to the realization of sustainable development goals particularly on “good health and well-being” (SDG #3) as it establishes its PCAC Framework with components, namely: (1) Preparedness on 5Ps (Policies, Programs, People, Partnerships, and Physical Plant), (2) Crisis Management Response, (3) Assessment of Response, and (4) Continuous Preparedness Plan.
The CCDC Birthing Clinic’s DOH-Licensed is now upgraded into a 5-bed capacity facility! Kudos to our Midwives, Nurses, MD Consultants! We continue to bring quality maternal and child care closer to our community!
Despite the lockdowns and strict restrictions, interested learners, enrolled students (all levels), out-of-school youth, adult and lifelong learners can now make use of barangay libraries at barangay halls, established through Operation Kajo (an Ibaloi term to mean “care”). Operation Kajo is a collaboration of the LGU ATOK, Cordillera College (CCDC), DOST – CAR, Philippine Librarians’ Association Incorporated – CAR. Last December 4, the MOA signing and formal turnover of the digital and printed learning materials took place at Sayangan, Atok and Naguey, Atok to formally establish Barangay Libraries in all Barangays of Atok to make accessible learning and information materials to enrolled students, out-of-school-youths, adult and lifelong learners. One desktop computer set containing DOST STARBOOKS and E-materials from the PLAI-CARLC and assorted printed materials from Department of Health – Cordillera, Department of Agriculture-Cordillera, DOST-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, BSU-REPO, UP Baguio, CCDC and private donors were given to each of the eight barangays of Atok. Truly, CCDC hopes to deepen our network, improve our strategies and widen our partnership activities to reach all far flung barangays and better the quality of learning in our communities.
DOST-CAR awards certificate of recognition to CCDC in sincere recognition of its invaluable support to DOST-CAR’s Science, Technology and Innovation Initiatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region, thereby contributing greatly to the goal of creating a science culture in the region. CCDC has initiated the OPERATION KAJO, establishing barangay libraries in the Municipality of LGU ATOK, Benguet in December 2020. Through the initiative, STARBOOKS, the DOST’s science digital library were provided to eight (8) barangays of the municipality. This significant contribution paved the way for the provision of S&T information materials for students and life-long learning alike, because of their heartfelt conviction on the merits of Science, Technology and Innovation.
LOOK: The PSTC-Benguet team led by Ms. Sheila Marie Singa-Claver visited Barangays of Caliking and Cattubo in Atok to facilitate the signing of the Science and Technology Academic Research-based Openly Operated Kiosks (STARBOOKS) Memorandum of Understanding between DOST and the respective Barangay Local Government Units today, February 11,2021.
The STARBOOKS software was installed by DOST-CAR while the Computer units were provided thru the Project Kajo led by the Cordillera Career Development College.
As a higher education institution, CCDC is committed to its mandate of quality instruction, research and extension services. Banayakeo, Poblacion, Atok, Benguet has been the adopted community of CCDC since 2018, being one of secluded communities of the municipality. The community households are farmers and homemakers. With the prevalence of bamboo in the area, the women in the community have learned basket weaving using bamboo and also have an existing poultry farm which was initially funded by the government as a loan.
When restrictions were starting to ease in 2021 to 2022, CCDC visited the community and was able to identify risks and potential. One of the concerns of the women for their poultry and basket weaving was its lack of market for their products.
Mentoring led to the basketweavers’ realization that there is a need to upgrade the quality of its bamboo to reduce the risk of decay and rotting of its products. The group was then led to the Department of Science and Technology for technical assistance in processing the bamboo to ensure that baskets last long.
Through the BS Entrepreneurship students and the CCDC Entrepreneurship Center adopted the Banayakoe Poultry Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SPLA) at Banayakeo, Atok, Benguet. Its members are from the low-income group. Thus, this is an opportunity for them to improve their living conditions. However, the enterprise faces challenges that hinder it from flourishing in business. With the project, student-entrepreneurs were tasked to help the enterprise, particularly in marketing.
Through the Project Aloyon (local term to mean, helping voluntarily), which aims to empower and capacitate community-based enterprises to be successful, Banayakeo poultry producers were able to sell their products and were able to meet potential outlets for their produce. To date the Banayakew Poultry producers were able to pay their debt from the government and continue to enjoy training and mentoring by the CCDC Entrepreneurship experts to improve packaging, and enhance bookkeeping skills.
In the future, the project aims to capacitate the members of the association with entrepreneurship through training, mentoring sessions, etc. With this, members will be inculcated with an entrepreneurial mindset and be equipped with the competencies needed to operate a business. Empowering the people in the enterprise can lead them to their success.
The Banayakeo Poultry SPLA serves as one of the many forces that drive CCDC to further strengthen community extension programs. CCDC hopes that it will be one of the rugs to riches story, may it serve as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their entrepreneurial journey.
CCDC College of Business Education and Administration (CBEA) which is the home to the BS Entrepreneurship, BS Hospitality Management and BS Office Administration programs conducts training for Coffee farmers, in coordination with Saint Louis University, to promote the coffee tourism industry, an alternative and a supplement to the coffee production industry in the locality. This was held June 16, 2022 with fellow entrepreneurs as speakers and with the coffee farmers of Itogon, Benguet.
CCDC Dean Rovelyn Antonio, shared the best practices of the Admirals Farm Park, a recreational, educational and outdoor site of the school, in terms of advocating mental health of children during the height of lockdowns and restrictions through safe, outdoor and sustainable farm day activities for kids.
The community has expressed interest in the shared best practice, given that it is less capital intensive in nature and relevant with the prevalence of mental health issues among children during this pandemic, expressed Rovelyn Antonio, dean.
The CCDC CBEA conducts regular and continuous financial literacy training, entrepreneurship lessons and lecture to the community and within the academic community to include parents, teachers and alumni.
Flexible Delivery of Student Services during the Covid-19 Pandemic
With the closure of campuses and suspension of face to face classes brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic, CCDC had to design a way to connect to its students in order to ensure the continuity of learning. Given the predominantly mountainous terrain of the Benguet Province, where access to the internet or online learning is very limited, drop off & pick up centers were established in various strategic places of Benguet. These are safe and accessible centers where students, on arranged schedules can pick up their learning modules, submit their learning outputs, enroll, pay their fees and pick up school documents among others. This is done through the help of the members of the community and partner agencies particularly the Local Government Units and Police Stations of the various Municipalities. The LGUs provide the space for scheduled off-site enrolment and student and parent consultations while Municipal Police Stations serve as drop-off and pick up centers for the learning packs/modules. During the enhanced community quarantine where students mobility was restricted, police officers and local officials, being APOR or authorized persons outside of residence, served as mailman or couriers of modules to students who live in far flung areas of Benguet.
The proverb, it takes a village to raise a child rings true. One’s holistic growth and success in school and in life is often the result of the collective and concerted effort of the home, the school and of the community.
One warm morning, Mahinda Pinmiliw, a graduating Bachelor of Secondary Education students shares her story.
I was born on April 2, 2001 in Palidan, Dalipey, Bakun, Beguet. I was raised by my grandparents, late Nicasio Pinmiliw and Marina Pinmiliw because my mother, a single parent, had to leave for work. My childhood years were some of the greatest of my life because I was able to witness my grandparents’ goodness, care, and love. They did their best to supply whatever I needed, and they never cease to amaze me with all they do. When the time came for me to start attending school, we were struggling financially but I was eager to study because I knew how difficult life can be. Even at a young age, I had to wake up early every day to be with my grandparents and uncles to the farm where they
work until night. I love the vegetable farm. It was my playground. I played around barefoot, walking and running on the soil and enjoyed the happiness of a child. Seeing the hardwork of my grandparents who were continually working day and night, I knew right then and there that education was the key to a better life for me. I may not be as intelligent as the others, but with determination and hard work, it paid off in the end, and I was able to finish primary school in 2013-2014.
High school arrived, and I went to my mother, where I stayed for six years with my two half siblings. I had a difficult time adjusting to my new family, possibly because I did not grow up with them, and I also experienced culture shock when I started high school at Baguio City High School-Main, where I was sometimes bullied because of my ethnicity. But, thankfully, I was able to deal with them, and I did my best to fit in. So many questions were in my head when I was sixteen. I realized I was longing to see my father. I was able to locate him via technology, and from there I began communicating with him. In 2017-2018, I completed my junior high school education. In the 2019-2020 school year, I continued my senior high school education at Philippine Women’s University.
When the pandemic hit, I returned to Bakun, where I began my college days, and I was grateful to CCDC for making learning more simpler for those in the provinces. During the pandemic, CCDC had made modules available to their students to enable us to continue learning even if we were restricted to travel. Benguet is a secluded province, we had no access to internet signals and many of my fellow students could not afford to buy high end phones to support online learning. We found printed modules helpful especially with the presence of Drop off and Pick up centers which were strategically placed within reach. With the assistance of the police officers in police stations, one of the designated centers, I was able to learn and pass my subjects.
My first and second years of college were never simple. Tuition has always been an issue for me. But I am grateful that the school’s scholarship coordinator assisted me and I became one of the TDP-TES grantee when I was a freshman until the present. This helped a lot to partially pay my school fees. Relatives also offered to help fund my tuition in exchange for me helping them in the garden. Day after day, I would go to the farm to work, and in the evening, even if I was exhausted, I would do my best to complete the activities assigned to me by my instructors.
I am so thankful that even though life had been tough to me, I was surrounded by loving aunties, uncles, and grandparents. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in 2021.
I have many dreams for my grandparents, and I hope that one day I will be able to repay their sacrifices and hard work. But I can’t do it anymore because he’s already joined our creator. I couldn’t picture my grandmother’s existence without him. But life must move on; perhaps God has bigger plans for my life; my grandfather may have passed away, but God blessed me; He answered the longing in my heart for 22 years, and I was finally able to see my father. God is so wonderful since through the years, he has been blessing me with a loving family, community and school.
The CCDC Community Legal Aid Center (CLAC) was established in 2021 as the official legal aid arm of the CCDC – College of Law and as the facility charged with the implementation of the Clinical Legal Education Program for its law student practitioners. The Clinical Legal Education Program is an experiential, interactive, and reflective credit-earning teaching course with the objectives of providing law students with practical knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the application of the law, delivery of legal services, and promotion of social justice and especially public interest, to the marginalized, while inculcating in the students the values of ethical lawyering and public service.
To achieve these, the Community Legal Aid Center aims the following objectives:
Aside from legal assistance, there are also short term programs for students who would like to assist/work for a day or two in exchange for financial compensation and other benefits that would enable them to pay for transportation, housing and food. This includes doing specific school tasks. during weekends or during academic breaks. This serves to help augment educational expenses of students.
CCDC supports students with free accommodations to students from low income families. The number is determined by the number of applicants provided that they agree to help and assist in various tasks in the school campus based on their skills and talents (e.g. carpentry and sports).
Such is the case of Brent Oyamin Fermin.
Brent Oyamin Fermin is now a graduating student of the BS Criminology program at age 27; he is set to graduate in June 2023. He is a native of Tuplac, Lubo, Kibungan, Benguet. He has become a familiar face among CCDC employees and students as he continues to serve as one of the student assistants working the general services department. He assists various offices in infrastructure and cleanliness-related work.
Along the corridor, where Brent is actively assisting students in his smart internship uniform, Ronalyn Aludos, the scholarship coordinator, greets Brent with a smile of pride. Aludos recalls, “When I was then assigned at the Office of the President, I recall Brent, with his untrimmed hair, wearing slippers, coming into the office one January afternoon in 2020, asking to talk to the school president. My instinct was to ask for his name and his reason for wanting to talk to the president. He answered with his name, and he was obviously nervous, but with a sound of desperation, saying he is a freshman and said that he would like to ask for help”.
While waiting for the president, Ms. Ronalyn asked him to take a seat to interview him. It was the last day to submit needed requirements like taking the special final examination. Brent started explaining that he was unable to pay the required fees to take the final examination on time and was asking for some consideration since he was only working for his uncle during the weekends.
President Tagle then relates, Brent was obviously nervous, but sounded determined and sincere in his intentions to finish school. Brent also shared that he was staying in his uncle’s house but could not afford the rent, and he was only working during the weekends and his meager earnings was only sufficient to cover his food, but not much of his school fees. She then introduced the school’s students assistants’ program which has been going on for 30 years and some other programs to support poor but deserving students like free accommodations and other services. He looked interested. Seeing his sincerity, she recalled asking if he would be given a chance to take his special final exam, was he ready to take it all in one afternoon? He said he was ready. She then said that after he took all his examinations, he could come back to the office to see Ms. Ronalyn assisted him in his application as a student assistant and other student support services.
The CCDC student assistants’ program capitalizes on diligence and perseverance, cultural traits common among Cordillerans. CCDC employs interested students who are willing to balance work and school while augmenting school fees. Student assistants are assigned in various offices and departments, but those who are willing to be assigned at the general services department are usually males with basic skills in carpentry, plumbing are given accommodation privileges inside the school campus. CCDC records the success of its program based on the high completion rate of its working students, and positive work feedback of their initial employers.
Brent eventually took all his examinations in one afternoon and passed his subjects. His teachers commended him saying that Brent had perfect attendance during the previous semester, and had a good academic performance. One teacher took notice of Brent as having turned in a handwritten assignment rather than an encoded output, saying that he could not afford to pay for computer rental. The teacher since then has been considerate and has observed Brent’s dedication to finish school.
In that same afternoon, Brent was able to talk to the head of the general services and the manager of the Admirals Farm Park, the school’s outdoor facility, where he will be assigned. The very next day, Brent officially became one of the hundreds of the school’s student assistants through the years.
Given his age, Brent showed maturity in the conduct of his work. His experiences instilled in him the commitment and dedication to do his best with minimal supervision. After finishing elementary school, he stopped school for one year before enrolling once again in high school. Due to financial difficulties, he had to help his parents in the farm and doing construction work, if only to help put food on the table and to help his younger siblings finish their elementary school years. Brent continued for another two years in high school, in St. Theresita’s High School, but eventually had to stop due to some failing grades. It was difficult not to comply with requirements due to financial problems and other-related problems. Brent began working once again from construction to farming, any job was always a blessing. Until Brent’s passion to finish school was en-kindled by the opportunity brought on by the Balik Paaralan Out of School Adults. Brent enrolled and got his certificate to finish Grade 10 after one year. He went back to work for another year, with the hope that he could save some money to help him finish Senior High School, which he eventually did and graduated under the Technical-Vocational Strand in 2019 at GBDAIS in Balakbak, Kapangan.
Asking Brent about his academic performance during his college years, he smiled. The first semester was very difficult. He was often hungry and tired. He walked 30 minutes to school and another 30 minutes to go home to his uncle’s house. He also had difficulty submitting requirements since he did not know much about using the computer, and felt shy working in groups.
During the lockdowns, Brent, who has not been accustomed to using cellphones, let alone computers and social media, had a difficult time during the pandemic. For almost two whole school years, when the heavy lockdown due to the pandemic was in place, Brent opted to stay with another student assistant, Edward, inside the school premises, at Admirals Farm Park, Lamtang, Puguis, La Trinidad. Brent felt he was better off in Lamtang, than going home to Kibungan. He continued his studies during the pandemic under the remote teaching and learning mode. He had to learn how to use the computer, use the internet and cellphone to communicate, and engage in online discussions with his teachers and classmates. This is one factor that led to him failing some of his academic subjects. Whatever he earned as a working student, his superiors assisted him to purchase his personal needs, and taught him to manage his finances. Brent was motivated to keep going and submit requirements, one at a time, with the constant encouragement of his superiors and of school employees who guided him during the lockdown, who ensured his health and well-being during those difficult times, his teachers who gave extra hours explaining the lessons which he could not comprehend by himself during self-study time.
As flexible learning and face-to-face classes gradually resumed, Brent also found interest in joining other school student organizations, he is now a member of the Gameng di Cordillera, a performing cultural dance group, and confidently performs in front of crowds, something he had not experienced during his younger years, as he was focused on working immediately after school.
When asked about best decisions he has made in his life, Brent looks back during the end of the first semester of the School Year 2019-2020, due to financial difficulties, he was unable to pay his fees, and continued working for the entire December-January holiday season. Until one day in January, as the enrollment for the second semester was going on, he met a classmate, who was a working student, assigned as a CCDC student security marshal. They talked about their difficulties, Brent shared his situation and his friend advised him, go to the President’s Office. And that one afternoon, he did and he saw hope that his longtime prayer and dream to graduate and find a stable job to secure him and his family will come true.