Unstoppable Lou

SMI has remained committed to helping develop sustainable communities within the Project area. In 2018, a total of PhP36.7 million was invested for education and skills training, community health, community infrastructure, enterprise development, and information, education and communication. These programs reached at least 19,183 individuals and 2,131 households in the barangays and municipalities hosting the Project.

SMI continues to work with local government units, tribal communities, and other partners in the public and private sectors. Together, we plant the future today while we harvest the fruits of our partnerships from years gone by.

Catch these inspiring success stories of individuals, families, and organizations in the 2019 issue of Panag-uban, our annual community development magazine that is soon to be released this September.

My college story is a story of survival. I endured college education for six years, shifting in and out of different courses and trying to find where I really belong.

I nearly lost my chance to finish college when I was taken out of my first scholarship grant because it got caught in the middle of partisan politics.

After failing in a few subjects, I learned to master the art of acceptance. After moving from one course to the next and each time adjusting to new people and a new environment, I learned to blend in. For every setback that I had experienced, I struggled relentlessly to have a stronger comeback.

With the help of former Mayor Leonardo Escobillo, I was transferred to the SMI-SP scholarship program. The financial assistance – including allowances – gave me the opportunity to no longer work while pursuing my education. It also gave me more time to focus on my studies. It helped my family meet our financial needs.

Since the SMI-SP is not limited to Tampakan residents only, it gave me the privilege of meeting other scholars from different parts of Regions XI and XII. It gave us the chance to build a network that we still maintain until today.

Soon enough, I earned my degree in BS Geology from the University of Southern Philippines in Davao City, passed the board examination for new geologists, and has since been employed as Geologist II at the Department of Public Works and Highways. Just this year, I gained another modest achievement in successfully passing the Environmental Planner Licensure Examination.

My college story is also a story of a great comeback. When I was down, I only had two options – whether to rise again or fall off as a failure. I chose to never give up.

Lastly, the SMI-SP grant has widened my perspective towards helping others. When I am in the position to help, may it be financial or in kind, I would help because I wanted to, without expecting something in return.

Louie Bahay is from Barangay Maltana, Tampakan, South Cotabato. He was a scholar of the SMI (Samahan ng Matatalinong Indibidwal) Scholarship Program. He is a professional Geologist and a Licensed Environmental Planner at the Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Office XII. 


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