Village Leader, Education Champion

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.

I am the eldest of six siblings, and we are one to two years apart from one another. You can imagine how difficult it was for our parents to feed us and send us to school. But with the help of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), we were all able to graduate from college. Our lives now are so much better, and my siblings and I have the means to help our parents in their old age.

My education helped me gain the trust of my people, and I was elected as Punong Barangay of Barangay Blaan in Malungon, Sarangani. Serving my village is challenging. I need to be strong and firm always, especially because we have problems on security and safety. My capability to lead is sometimes questioned.

I am confident, though, that the problems can be eradicated. How? Through the same thing that helped my family have a better life: education! My goal is to increase the literacy level in my barangay and to help the younger generation earn college degrees. Education will help them have easier access to economic opportunities and, when people are productive, the crime rate will also decrease because offenders would most likely resort to robberies and killings due to unmet financial needs.

Through the help of SMI, the municipal government of Malungon and other partners, my barangay is on its way to achieving our educational goals. In 2018 alone, the company provided financial support to 12 college students and 30 senior high school students from Barangay Blaan. Without that support, it would have been difficult for the parents of these kids and our barangay to send them to school. We also have a teacher in the local elementary school, who was herself a scholar of SMI.

I hope the other scholars of SMI and I will serve as an inspiration to these new scholars. We were just like them before. But with perseverance and the right opportunity, we became successful in our careers and, most of all, were able to go back to the community and help expand the existing opportunities.

Sweetly Mae B. Galang, MPA is the Punong Barangay of Barangay Blaan, Malungon, Sarangani. She was a recipeint of the SMI (Samahan ng Matatalinong Indibidwal) Scholarship Program. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, major in Filipino, from the Mindanao State University.


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