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    Lumad graduates as doctor of medicine through La Salle scholarship program

    MANILA, Philippines – A Lumad of the Tigwahanon-Manobo tribe recently graduated as doctor of medicine, thanks to the La Salle scholarship program. It turned out that he was also the first in the tribe to become a registered nurse!
    Lumad graduates as doctor of medicine through La Salle scholarship program

    Joeffrey Mambucon, 31, of Sitio Opis Namnam, San Fernando, Bukidnon, impressed everyone as he became the first nurse and, later, the first doctor to graduate from their tribe.

    Lumad graduates as doctor of medicine through La Salle scholarship program
    Photo credit: Joeffrey Mambucon / Facebook

    According to Joeffrey, this is such a big feat for him, particularly because people in their tribe usually get married and start a family at age 12 through an arranged marriage. Raised by illiterate parents, Joeffrey had big dreams for himself and his family.

    Though he faced a lot of discouragements, even bullying, throughout his student life, he did not quit.

    Lumad graduates as doctor of medicine through La Salle scholarship program
    Photo credit: Joeffrey Mambucon / Facebook

    “Nothing more could ever compare to the amount of pain I have felt for being discriminated, which made me ask, ‘Is it too hard to just support and love one another rather than taunt him/her for his/her dreams?’” Joeffrey asked.

    “All of these remarks would have been enough proof for me to just stay in the mountains and be with my carabaos and chickens.”

    But he gathered strength in his dreams, refusing to quit.

    Lumad graduates as doctor of medicine through La Salle scholarship program
    Photo credit: Joeffrey Mambucon / Facebook

    “After finishing my high school, the Overseas Missionary Fellowship Scholarship Committee sent me to Davao for college. One of the missionaries told me to take up nursing because they have a medical ministry and they only have one nurse,” Joeffrey shared.

    He graduated with a degree in Nursing from the University of Mindanao and passed the board exams, becoming a registered nurse in 2010. The missionaries who sponsored his education encouraged him to become a doctor but he doubted himself.

    “Sabi ko po sa sarili ko enough na maging nurse, malaking tulong na ito sa community ko at sa pamilya ko. But after working po sa Bukidnon Provincial Hospital-San Fernando, na-encourage po ng mga kasama kong doctor. Nag-decide na po ako na mag-med kasi nakikita ko po talaga na kailangan ako ng mga katribo ko,” Joeffrey narrated.

    When he finally summoned the courage to proceed to Med School, it took him 2 years before a school finally accepted him with full scholarship.

    “Sa lahat po ng inaplayan ko, La Salle lang po ang nag-respond for interview. Binigyan po nila ako ng scholarship, wala po talaga akong gastos, free po lahat,” the young doctor shared.

    He recently graduated from De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in Dasmarinas, Cavite. He thanks former DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus who endorsed him to the La Salle scholarship program for Lumads (indigenous people) like him.

    “Never in my wildest dream na mag-doctor since in our tribe, at age 12 usually nag-a-asawa na kami via arranged marriage,” Joeffrey mused.

    “Kung ikaw man ay nakaranas ng pangungutya, at napagsabihan na wala kang mararating sa buhay dahil isa ka lang katutubo o wala kang kakayahan: huwag kang magalit. Gawin mong inspirasyon ’yun.”

    He plans to complete his 1-year post-graduate internship before taking the board exams. If he passes that one, Joeffrey plans to join the ‘Doctors to the Barrio’ program by the DOH. He hopes that he would be assigned to his hometown so he could help the people in his tribe.

    “Sa tribo po kasi namin hindi po mahalaga na nakapagtapos ka. Mas malaki po ang impact pag nakikita ka nilang nakatulong sa kanila. Kaya babalik po talaga ako sa amin after Licensure exam. Be hardworking, be kind, and be a person with true grit because with God, nothing shall be impossible,” Joeffrey said.

    — Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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