‘Katas ng Kalakal!’: Cum laude grad dedicates success to his father with disability, a garbage collector

“Pa, hayaan mo na ako naman ang bumawi sa 'yo…!”

As they say, a responsible parent will do everything to provide their children with their basic needs, especially ensuring that they complete their education. Access to education is a right for all, whether rich or poor.

The emotions of netizens were deeply moved by the Facebook post of Ross Leo Forbes Mercurio, who graduated "Cum Laude" with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Agri Business Management and Entrepreneur from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Lopez Quezon Branch.

Cum laude grad dedicates success to his father
Photo courtesy: Facebook / Ross Leo Forbes Mercurio

He dedicated his honor and graduation success to his parents, especially to his father, a "Person with Disability" (PWD) who collects garbage to provide for their needs.

It can be read on his Facebook post, “Una sa lahat, maraming salamat sa aking mga magulang sa walang sawang paggabay at pagsuporta sa akin para ako ay makatapos sa pag-aaral lalong-lalo na sa aking huwarang ama na laging andyan para sa aming pamilya na ginagawa ang lahat para maitaguyod kaming magkakapatid para makatapos sa pag-aaral na sa kabila ng kaniyang pagiging senior citizen at kapansanan ay hindi ito naging hadlang para sumuko.”

He attached photos of himself at the graduation ceremony, as well as his father while collecting recyclables.

Despite his disability, his father doesn't take a break from working hard, even on Sundays, rain or shine, diligently scouring the streets.

He continued, “Isang ama na malaki ang pangarap sa kaniyang pamilya na ginagawa ang lahat para lang mapag-aral kaming magkakapatid hindi mo maririnig sa kaniya ang salitang pagod dahil ang iniisip ay kapakanan ng aming pamilya.”

“Pa, this is it sobrang proud ako kasi naitaguyod mo kaming magkakapatid sa kabila ng iyong edad at kapansanan hindi ito naging hadlang para matustusan ang pag-aaral naming magkakapatid."

“Sa loob ng 17 years ko na pag-aaral, nasaksihan ko lahat ng pagod at hirap na pinagdaanan natin kaya sobrang proud ako sa’yo, Pa.”

Ross always remembers his father's reminder, that the only inheritance he can pass on to their siblings is education. So at this point, it's Ross's turn to give back to his family.

“Pa, hayaan mo na ako naman ang bumawi sa’yo, alam ko minsan may nararamdaman ka na rin. Konting tiis na lang. Mahal na mahal ka po namin.”

“Ang lahat ng ito ay hindi tagumpay ko kundi tagumpay n’yo ni Mama ♥️ Mahal na mahal ko po kayo di ko man ito masabi sa inyo ng personal pero sobrang proud ako sa inyo.”

In his profile photo, Ross detailed the struggle of juggling studying and working to graduate from college.

Aside from his parents, Ross didn't simply wait for money to be handed to him. He also worked while studying to help cover his educational expenses and contribute to his family's daily needs at home.

That's why, at his graduation, he felt that all the hardships they went through had paid off.

“Hindi naging madali para sa akin ang pagsabayin ang pag-aaral habang nagtatrabaho, andyan yung stress, puyat at pagod yung kailangan mo ng time management, yung trabaho sa umaga tapos aral sa gabi gawa ng mga project, assignment at activities na kailangan i-submit sa takdang oras.”

“Kailangan mo matulog ng hatinggabi, minsan madaling-araw tapos gising nang maagap para pumasok ng trabaho. Minsan napapaisip na ako kaya ko kaya? Naiisipan ko nang sumuko minsan pero maraming salamat kasi andyan kayo nagpapalakas ng loob ko para labanan lahat ng mga pinagdaanan ko na hirap, pagod, puyat at stress kaya walang sawang pasasalamat po sa lahat.”

“Life has obstacles, but life also has opportunities. As a student like me who is balancing a personal life and work, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with various responsibilities and obligations. When frustrated by these moments, don’t give up.”

“Remember that you are doing this to achieve your dream and push through. Fight for what you deserve,” he said.

Congratulations to you, Ross, and good luck in your future endeavors!

— Richard, The Summit Express

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