Cultural rootedness: ASC's ticket to internationalization

      This year's 19th ASC Charter Day theme: "Nurturing the sown seed of quality education towards internationalization" reaffirms ASC's resolve to position itself from the not-to-distant global stand like what Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon, its College President said in her speech, "Everything is in Apayao."

The said celebration was highlighted by the soft launching of the Cultural and Historical Studies Center (CHSC) at the ASC-Luna Campus, last February 27, 2017.

The celebration is in commemoration of the Father of Apayao and Founder of ASC, the late Hon. Elias K. Bulut Sr.-renowned as a Provincial Hero during the 20th Apayao Founding Anniversary-for the establishment of this lone HEI in the province through R.A. 8563 whom he is the author. His heir, the Governor of Apayao Province, Hon. Elias C. Bulut Jr. graced the said event together with other provincial, municipal and barangay officials.

Looking back to the man behind ASC's establishment, Apayao has been longprepared for this by him who blended it with unique identity and thus proving the Province to be worth of its label as the 'Last frontier of nature in the Far North' and that ASC share the responsibility to live by his wisdom as the lone bearer HEI in this province.

"His development models must have come along with decades' old, 1972-written principles of Sustainable Development, Philippine Agenda 21 and the Expanded Philippine Agenda 21 or the increased global awareness on environmental issues by the United Nation's Council on Sustainable Development (UNCSD-1992)" said Dr. Dacyon.

While this concept was finalized in the 1987 Brendthland Report, the foundations of Sustainable Development have already been manifested even during the time of our ancestors. Their way of life and belief system revolved around respect for nature and the sharing of benefits.

"Sustainable Development therefore was already part and inherent in the IP positive values and traditions. This uniqueness and abundance made our education, since time, possible,quality and relevant," said Dr. Dacyon.

For instance, with the urgent concern of the world which is climate change, many of the researchable areas in the Research Development and Extension Agenda Program (RDEAP) on climate change are those that Apayao have had already in terms of practices, resources and development models.

"Senator Loren Legarda will soon be calling on all SUCs to Climate Change Mitigation conference this March. This is timely with ASC's ongoing efforts on environmental knowledge and biodiversity conservation programs," Dr. Dacyon also pressed on.

With the oversight agencies' advocacy on resilient and sustainable management practices in agro-forestry, food innovation, poverty alleviation and climate change, ASC has been progressively addressing these.

"As recognized by the United Nations (UN), nurturing our IKSPs/ cultural values and practices are actually the solution to the most urgent problem in the world today. As defined by CHED, internationalization need not be the process of going to other countries always but it's also bringing the world to our localities which can model climate change mitigation like the 'last frontier' so to speak," Dr. Dacyon articulated.

"With the CHSC now in place, our researches on Biodiversity Integrated Research and Development (BIRD) will take off at full blast," she added.

"We didn't know that the Banamba(adult eagle)and the Banog (baby eagle/eaglet) that reside in Apayao were Philippine Eagles. Not until lately, the Philippine Eagle Foundation did their thing," Gov. Bulut teasingly said.

"It's good that this CHSC is now here. We can now better show the world Apayao's secrets," he added.

The CHSC aspires to preserve and strengthen the indigenous knowledge system of Apayao as well as to education, culture, national heritage in particular and to the world in general.

Said center is being planned to collaborative with concerned entities like the NCIP, other HEIs, research centers, and the National Historical Commission (NHC) among others.

The main activities of the center include: establishment of school-based museum, integration of indigenous knowledge system in the curricular programs and documentation of the resource management practices and governance of the Isnags.

The center will also become a venue for activities to strengthen capability and cooperation among agencies/ institutions to undertake RDEs to update know-hows of project staff and stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the charter day celebration was also highlighted by the PILDAP which literally means lum-na kiya baro nga balay (entering a new home)-performed by the Apayao Cultural Performing Group (ACPG) which signified the blessing of the Research and Development (R&D) Building which was put up in Luna Campus-the host campus for this year's charter celebration. PILDAP, like our fellow Indigenous People who tribe in the Cordillera, is Apayao's distinct way of celebrating an entry to a new home-in the case of ASC, the R&D Building.

The establishment of the said R&D building is part of the bigger plan of the college to expand its services and to deliver quality education in response to CHED's thrust on facilities modernization. Earlier in February 25, 2017, as a part of the celebration, the ICT building and Students Center in ASC-Conner campus was also inaugurated. Part of the gains from the visit of the Governor to the college as keynote speaker was a commitment to provide service vehicles for the college, initial 10M financial assistance and a five (5)hectare land area for ASC to firm-up additional facilities. Also, Gov. Bulut enjoined the municipal mayors of the 7 municipalities of Apayao to support all the programs of the college.

"We are so grateful to the overwhelming support from our Provincial Government as well as from the office of the Congressman, Leah Bulut-Begtang, other line agencies and other shepherds who keep on inspiring ASC to nurture the sown seeds of quality education towards the niche of the College as a Biodiversity-centered HEI," Dr. Dacyon expressed.


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