APAYAO – Neilmar Cabacungan, a beneficiary of the Department of Labor and Employment – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOLE-CAR) Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) for four consecutive years through the Apayao Field Office, finally reached his goal of being a licensed teacher and landing a permanent job in public service.

Neilmar is the only child of Renie and Benilda Cabacungan. His father is a laborer and furniture maker, while his mother is a domestic worker and cook. At an early age, he understood the hardship of life and aspired to be someone to make a change.

He started working under the SPES Program immediately after his graduation from highschool last 2015.

He then topped the Scholarship Qualifying Examination conducted by the provincial local government of Apayao. This allowed him to enroll as a scholar at Cagayan State University where he pursued Bachelor of Secondary Education Major in Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health (MAPEH).

He used his SPES benefit together with the allowances from his scholarship grant to finance his school needs and other basic necessities. He showed dedication in his studies coupled with commendable performance in work as SPES for four consecutive years until 2018.

In June 2019, he graduated as cum laude and was also awarded as The Outstanding Campus Journalist, Outstanding Campus Student Leader and an awardee of the Culture in the Arts.

He went on to receive several awards from various events, where one of his photo entries reached a national award in 2018 in line with Women’s Month Celebration hosted by the Philippine Commission on Women.

In September 2019, Mr. Cabacungan took his Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), and while waiting for the result, he applied under the Government Internship Program (GIP).

He was assigned as a GIP Teacher Aide from October to December 2019 at the Luna National High School, but out of passion to his profession, he volunteered until March 2020. He was subsequently hired as contractual instructor at the Apayao State University from August 2020 up to March 2021.

He reaped the fruits of his labor last May 10, 2021, as he took his oath as Teacher 1 at the Department of Education Apayao Provincial Office. He was assigned at the Santa Marcela National High School, at Santa Marcela, Apayao as a MAPEH Teacher.

Neilmar believes that education is a continuous process, thus pursuing his Master of Science in Teaching, Major in Physical Education at the Apayao State College. While pursuing his Master’s Degree, he spends his weekends as part-time lecturer in the same college.

Neilmar believes that “Poverty is not a hindrance in attaining my goals in life. So as long as there is a will, there is a way. It only needs dedication and persistence in life. In this way, I am what I am now. I am also thankful that I was able to avail of these government programs and assistance. These have helped me a lot.”

Indeed, with proper guidance and adequate assistance, planted dreams become nurtured possibilities.

The Special Program for Employment of Students is DOLE’s youth employment-bridging program which aims to provide temporary employment to poor but deserving students, out-of-school youth, and dependents of displaced or would-be displaced workers during summer and/or Christmas vacation or any time of the year to augment the family’s income to help ensure that beneficiaries are able to pursue their education.

For more information on the SPES Program, contact the DOLE-CAR Office at Cabinet Hill, Baguio or reach us via (074) 443-5338 or 442-2447.

END//Daryll Ponard with reports from DOLE-CAR Apayao Field Office