In Iloilo, IPs benefit from ALS | Inquirer News

In Iloilo, IPs benefit from ALS

In Iloilo, IPs benefit from ALS

VOLUNTEER WORK Alternative Learning System (ALS) volunteers under the Dagyaw project have partnered with young indigenous peoples in the village of Igtuble in Tubungan, Iloilo, as they embark on educating members of the community. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

ILOILO CITY—Teacher Darwin Tadifa could have grabbed better opportunities elsewhere but his mind was set in working with those who have less access to education in a remote community in Iloilo province.

Tadifa, 43, has been considered by many as a beacon of hope for out-of-school youths and the Panay-Bukidnon, an indigenous peoples (IP) group in Tubungan, Iloilo.


“It was really hard. There were days that I wanted to stop,” said Tadifa who was born in Manila but later settled in his parents’ hometown in Tubungan, located 21 kilometers west of Iloilo City.


“But my dedication to teaching [prevented me from leaving]. I am doing something I love plus advocating for the IP communities in my hometown. There are no victories without hardship,” he added.

Tadifa used to teach at an elementary school in Tubungan. But in 2012, Tadifa, an advocate for education and community development, transitioned full-time to Alternative Learning System (ALS) teaching, setting the stage for initiatives that would reshape education in Tubungan.

Initially designed to aid out-of-school youths, ALS took a transformative turn that year with the “Dal-on Ta” project in partnership with the local government of Tubungan.

The program, based at Tubungan Central Elementary School Community Learning Center, serves 48 barangays, prioritizing equitable access for out-of-school youth and adults.

READ: Indigenous peoples to train as health workers

READ: Protect rights of indigenous peoples, CHR urges gov’t agencies


The “Dal-on Ta” project, which received the Special Award of Excellence in 2013 from the Tubungan municipal government, emerged as a symbol of literacy advocacy for the community.

“Dal-on Ta,” in Ilonggo, means “let’s deliver, transfer, or pass” and symbolizes the essence of ALS’ literacy program.


Tubunganons’ dream of making education accessible to all fueled the program’s inception, earning commendations at the local, provincial and national levels.

The ALS, in tandem with the local government, pushed boundaries to make community learning centers more functional and responsive to the needs of out-of-school youth and adults and Tubunganons through partnerships.

Recognizing the need to prioritize IP communities, Tadifa initiated the Dagyaw (Delivery of Assistance and Guidance for the Young Minds’ Advancement and Welfare) project in 2020. It became a lifeline for residents of Barangay San Jose in Tubungan by providing free education, particularly for out-of-school and IP youths through distance or blended learning.

With 54 learners comprising toddlers, and kindergarten and elementary pupils, Dagyaw addressed the learning needs of 15 percent of the village population, he said.

“Kabataang Guro” volunteers and Sangguniang Kabataan officers played a crucial role in assisting parents, integrating literacy services in different projects.

In April this year, Dagyaw inked a partnership with the International Labor Organization, receiving P4 million in funding for the training of 25 selected IPs, who passed the ALS, in food processing by dehydration under the Skills for Prosperity (SfP) initiative.

Tadifa said the project underscored their commitment to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labor rights. An integral objective of the SfP program is to facilitate lifelong learning and skills development, particularly through technical and vocational training tailored for IP students enrolled in ALS.

Dagyaw’s impact resonates through seven barangays and 10 youth organizations with 1,983 beneficiaries and 165 volunteers.


Despite some challenges and a lack of steady funding, Tadifa’s resourcefulness raised P500,000 through collaboration, fundraising and community donations.

Dagyaw reached beneficiaries in Barangay Igpaho, a remote community in Tubungan, through Project Ulikid (Unity through Literacy Initiative and Keeping Individual’s Development). This project, spearheaded by Tadifa, alongside fellow ALS teachers Jiezl Caaya and Jonah Tacuel, will help 70 learners and 60 seniors by providing them educational materials, hygiene training and meals.

Since its inception in 2020, the Dagyaw program in Tubungan has witnessed a significant increase in the number of graduates, particularly from IP communities, Tadifa said.

In the academic year 2020-2021, the program had 20 graduates, including four from the IP community. The following school year, the number of graduates surged to 79, 30 of whom hailed from IP communities.

Tadifa said the program was more successful in the 2022-2023 school year, with 120 ALS graduates, 62 of whom represented the IPs.

The graduates include four tribal leaders and chieftains who served as role models for their communities.

Tadifa said this not only underscored the program’s efficacy but also highlighted the commitment of IP leaders to inspire their peers to pursue education.

One graduate, Ledina Taguibe, symbolized hope and determination.

The 64-year-old Taguibe, known in the community as Nanay Dinay, had enrolled in secondary school in 2002 and performed her other role as barangay captain of Bato while studying.

She, however, failed her examinations due to her busy schedule as a community leader.

Determined to get an education, she returned to school through ALS in 2021.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Taguibe has defied conventions, proving that age and status in life should never be a barrier to getting an education.

TAGS: Alternative Learning System, Iloilo

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.