by Amaranth Xena Soleil Saludar
The Alangan Mangyan, an indigenous community in Oriental Mindoro, has been facing challenges amid the growing impact of their connection with the urbanized, modern, and globalizing world, according to Behavioral Sciences Society (BSS) of De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila.
Through the Behavioral Sciences Department’s partnership with Buhay at Kinabukasan Development Foundation Inc., the Alangan Mangyan community was given the opportunity to share their customs, traditions, issues, and the challenges that they face.
For everything that the Alangan Mangyan had taught and shared, BSS and the Behavioral Sciences Department of DLSU wanted to give back and help improve the community’s quality of life in any possible way, especially in this time of crisis.
Since education is a part of their community development initiatives, BSS initiated on July 18, 2020 the “New Normal Education for the Alangan Mangyan Students” to help the Alangan Mangyan students and teachers in Sitio Dulangan III, Baco, Oriental Mindoro cope with the new education system that was developed under the “new normal” circumstances brought about by the pandemic.
With that, BSS acknowledged their duties and responsibilities as Lasallian leaders in this time of crisis. Also, the organization saw this as an opportunity to serve as a venue for community service among the BSS members and the DLSU community.
“As [BSS] officers, we were motivated by our duty and responsibility as Lasallian leaders to help the vulnerable, especially given the nature of our field of study, the behavioral sciences… We also decided to push through, knowing that there are always people who can help, and we are immensely grateful for our donors,” stated BSS Executive Vice President for Internals Mardi Gonzalez.
Amid the circumstances, Gonzalez wanted to tell the importance of education, especially for the indigenous people, particularly the Alangan Mangyan community, and to say that people can use their privilege to help “vulnerable” students in this time of crisis.
“Education is a very important tool to acquire because people need it to uplift themselves and their families. However, the most vulnerable are the ones who have difficulties accessing education, which puts them at an unfair advantage. While we cannot do an academic freeze for the whole country, following the orders of DepEd, we can at least do our best to ensure that vulnerable students have access to learning resources and quality education, especially when we have the means to do so and when we ourselves are at a position of privilege,” Gonzalez emphasized.
“Because the Alangan Mangyan students are indigenous people, they have a different culture growing up, which might pose difficulties for them in adjusting to mainstream culture and education… It is important to be able to help them and their teachers in providing them with education and training needed to use the learning tools.
It is the organization’s hope, as well, for DepEd to be able to provide them with an alternative indigenous curriculum that caters to their specific learning styles,” added Gonzalez.
This initiative of BSS is part of the Kada Uno Project of DLS Philippines, which combines the efforts of Lasallians and other partners to aid the “most vulnerable” in the country during the ongoing global crisis.
*For more information about BSS, you may reach out to their Facebook account. You may also reach one of the organization’s officers through this contact number: Mardi Gonzalez – 09159807172.