But young as he is, and poor as his family is, Mark has already displayed a willingness to help other people. Even in their hard life, Mark still shared writing papers or viand with his classmates. And he always makes them happy by cracking jokes.
His mother managed to send him to a public high school and send him to a nearby college and earned a two-year health service provider NC II.
Using this two-year degree course, he applied as a volunteer health service provider for sitios in Barangay Batian, one of the farthest, poorest and hard-to-reach barangays.
He regularly caters to six sitios in Batian, the farthest of which is sitio Angko. Sitio Angko has 272 households and Marky does the immunization, pre-natal, family planning, and even check-up for ordinary illnesses like cough, fever, etc. He even administered deliveries there, but more often than not he encouraged pregnant women to avail themselves of the maternity services of the GYY Maternity Home in the town.
It is noteworthy to mention Marky’s remarkable dedication and commitment to the Indigenous People (IP) in Batian.
After working as a volunteer in Batian for nine months, Marky applied for a scholarship under the provincial government. He earned the degree of midwifery in 2015 and passed the board exam that same year.
He went back to Maitum as he promised himself to return to Barangay Batian to help the Tboli people there. He was immediately given a provincial item, but requested to be assigned in Maitum.
Once back in Maitum, he requested the municipal health officer to give Barangay Batian to him. Actually, nobody wanted to be assigned in Batian but this fellow wholeheartedly asked to be assigned there as he knew that these IP badly needed help.
To get to Batian, Marky has to cross a big river nine times to reach his subjects. It gets especially hard when it rains and the river swells and there is always the danger of getting swept away. Not only that, he has to climb mountains for hours.
There were also times that he travelled at night with just a handy flashlight to light his way brushing away the dangers that lurk along his way.
But as always, Marky mustered the courage to withstand all these. These challenges did not deter Marky from pursuing his volunteer work. He knew that he is vulnerable to bad elements, road accidents, and other possibilities that he might encounter but his love for these people prevailed. He mentioned that even if the Local Health Officer will request him to be transferred to the town, he still prefers working with the IPs in Barangay Batian. For all these challenges, he knew that God is taking care of him.
It is not easy to bring the basic health services to Batian yet he realized that if no one will sacrifice for them, these IPs will have no hope. From the start Marky worked in Batian, the IPs learned to care for themselves.
Marky even learned the Tboli native language so that he can relate with and understand the IPs well. He ate with them, slept with them if necessary. These endeared Marky with the Tbolis.
Whenever he arrived at the village, the IPs faces lit up with delight.
His work did not go unnoticed. This year, Marky, 26, was nominated to the Gawad Geny Lopez Bayaning Kabataang Pilipino and won. He bested three other national finalists.
Indeed there is no mountain too high nor any river too risky that Marky can’t conquer to serve the Tboli indigenous people – a feat that can only be accomplished by a true hero. But for Marky, with or without the award, he would still be serving the indigenous people of Barangay Batian. (Beth Ramos/MAITUM INFORMATION OFFICE)