Turning his back on his ‘barkada’, drugs

by Glenda B. Gutierrez

 

Jacinto Jason Rigo, 20, is from the town of Tumauini in the province of Isabela, which is located north of Luzon. He is the youngest of six children. He moved to Navotas City to attend the Alternative Learning System (ALS) classes of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) that were being conducted in St. Peter United Methodist Church (UMC). This came about because his sister, Mary Jane, last March, prodded him to.

Financing his studies was not the main obstacle for Jason since the family could get by, albeit with only a little difficulty. His father, Pacifico, is a farmer who owns a small land that he himself cultivates. Jason stopped schooling for a reason other than money, or the lack of it.

He dropped out of school because he chose to prioritize his “barkada” (group of friends) above his studies. He loved hanging out with his friends that he thought going to school has become an unnecessary distraction. So he got only to finish Level 3 of high school at the Tumauini National High School.

Due to the influence of his friends, he experimented with drugs. But it did not take up a lot time before he realized that he was destroying his life. He know he got to get off drugs. He overcame this problem and vowed to turn his life around.

That’s when he heeded the advice of her sister. Jason was determined to finish school saying, “If I am not successful in passing the Accreditation and Equivalency (A & E) examination, I will look for a job and repeat ALS.”

He took his studies seriously this time by reading modules at home. He also did his homeworks and practiced essay-writing.

With his passing the A & E, his family is overjoyed. It is the culmination of his hard work. Jason is now back in his province and undergoing training on welding at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). He hopes to work abroad upon completing the course.

jason-rigo2
Jason Rigo (front, first from left)

With the opportunities open to him, however, he is at a quandary. He now has to decide whether to work abroad or finish college. Those two options were not grim at all. Each holds a promise that can prove beneficial to Jason in the long run.

Yes! One can turn around one’s life. Jason is a testament to that.

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